I have question about "through" and "across", the spesific meaning(affecting every/many part of something/somebody) of these prepositions. Is there any difference between these versions?

This dictionary gives an explanation about a meaning of "through" , saying : "Affecting every part of someone or something

1- An insurance company that has over 120 offices across America.

2- When she heard Bruno’s voice, it sent a chill of terror across her.

3- A rumor spread across the camp.

4- An insurance company that has over 120 offices through America.

5- When she heard Bruno’s voice, it sent a chill of terror through her.

6- A rumor spread through the camp.

1 Answer 1


I would expect to hear or red sentences 1, 5 and 6, but never 4 or 2, and rarely 3.

  • "Across America" is a particularly common phrase, perhaps because of the alliteration. For an alternative, one might say "throughout America" but in my experience that is far less common. I can't recall having encountered "through America" in this sense, although I have heard things like "He has traveled for ten years through America."

  • "Sent {an emotion or feeling} through her". This is again a very conman usage, and I don't recall reading or hearing "sent a chill across her" although "sent a chill along her spine" is very common also.

  • "A rumor spread through the camp." This is so common as to be a cliche. Such words as "town", "city", "campus", or "office" could be used in place of camp, as could other nouns indicating a place where people gather, and by extension, a group of people. In this case I have encountered the "across" form, but much less often.

I think the underlying principle is that "across" suggests something that passes over a surface, while "through" conjures up the image of something that moves through the midst of something else. But I suspect that as with many idiomatic or common usages, the question is just which form became popular, tending to drive out other forms with similar meanings, and there is no clear rule to follow.

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