Some dictionaries say "the course of" can be used with "over," "in," "during," and "throughout." I'm wondering if there's any difference among these options.

For example, if event A happened throughout the course of event B, does that mean event A lasted as long as event B (or happened at various parts of event B), or event A happened at some point in the course of event B?

What about the other combinations, i.e. "during the course of, "in the course of," and "over the course of"?

  • I don't think dictionaries have an entry for: in the course of. They have the meaning of the word course. Therefore, if you see those other terms associated with "course", it would be in examples, right?
    – Lambie
    Nov 6, 2018 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


Toss the idea "lasted as long" into the trashcan if the thing in question is not one with duration.

The spoils have gone to the victor throughout the course of history. duration: NO

The plate was sitting on the buffet throughout the course of the meal.duration: YES

The spoils going to the victor is not coterminous with the course of history. Rather, at whatever point in time in world history you happen to be looking at, where there is a victor, there go the spoils. There is not one continuous event but multiple discrete events.

On the other hand, the plate sitting on the buffet is coterminous with the course of the meal. It was there at the beginning of the meal and remained there continuously for the duration of the meal.

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