How do these expressions differ?
Does one of them sound more forceful to you?
For instance, in the following sentence, does using each one make any change in meaning:

  1. What are you trying to get across to me?
  2. What are you trying to get through to me?

1 Answer 1

  1. "Get {something} across to {somebody}"

means "Present {something} in a way that {somebody} can understand", or "Explain in a way that {somebody} shows they understand". The phrasing assumes that the problem is a difference in language or assumptions. For example, science teachers often have a hard time getting quantum mechanics concepts across to their students.

  1. "Get {something} through to {somebody}"

means "Force {somebody} to accept that {something} is true", or "Convince." The phrasing assumes that {somebody} is resisting the idea of {something}. For example, football coaches sometimes need to get through to their players that academics are important -- and that if a student doesn't earn good grades, the student won't be allowed to play football.

Thus, "get {something} through to {somebody}" is more forceful.

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