1. Over sections 1 to 5 I will explain this problem.
  2. Through sections 1 to 5 I will explain this problem.
  3. From sections 1 to 5 I will explain this problem.
  4. In sections 1 to 5 I will explain this problem.

I'm not sure which preposition to use in the sentences above. If none of the first four I listed work, I'd appreciate it if you could suggest one that does work.

  • 1
    What about throughout section 1 to 5? Commented May 5, 2019 at 2:54

3 Answers 3

  1. Over sections one to (or through) five…” is acceptable, but the use of “over“ suggests that you’re collaboratively “going over” (i.e., reviewing or studying) the sections with the audience you’re communicating with (e.g., as a teacher).
  2. Through sections one to (or through) five…” is also acceptable. This usage of “through” shares its meaning with the words “using“ and “via” and implies that you’re using the sections in question as a tool to accomplish some purpose.
  3. From sections one to (or through) five…” is also acceptable and implies that your use of the relevant sections serves as a starting point for some goal. This is probably the least likely usage of the four.

    Technically, one could also interpret this usage as “Through information from…”, but in that case, I would just use the preposition “in”.

  4. In sections one to (or through) five…” is the most natural phrasing and also the most generic. You’re simply describing what happens in these sections.

Furthermore, the word “through” sounds more natural here since you’re describing the process of going through a process.

Lastly, numbers of ten or less are preferably written using words instead of numerals probably because most of those numbers only consist of one digit and all consist of one syllable.


Of the choices you offer I would prefer 4. I would even more prefer something like the following.

I explain this problem in Section 1 through Section 5.

Note that this indicates the explanation is in those sections, not that it will be. It is there already, right? Also, hyperlinks have pushed me to use Section 1 through Section 5 rather than Sections 1 through 5. I do the same with figures, tables, and references. And the "through" rather than "to" is just because that's what my office culture prefers.

Possibly this is also a place for a passive voice. That depends on if this is a technical report (go for the passive) or a familiar essay (keep the "I" form).

This problem is explained in Section 1 through Section 5.

  • What about "in sections 1 through 5"
    – Sasan
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    "section 1 through section 5" enables using hyperlinks (cross references) to jump to those sections. It may be possible with just the numbers, but it is less obvious that way. Some word processors (MS word) can only insert cross references with fixed names. Commented May 8, 2019 at 15:26

Sometimes putting a prepositional phrase at the beginning of the sentence can make the meaning awkward. That said, the prepositions you mentioned are not interchangeable. If something is contained in a section it is inside or in the section. To express what you are trying to say, I would write the following: I will explain the problem in the following sections 1-5.

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