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I always had a doubt using the word through; basically I would like to say this sentence:

Thanks Alex for all the money saved through your tips.

Is the use of the word through correct in this sentence?

NOTE: I want to keep the sentence unchanged; if there's anything to be corrected, it must only be the word through.

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    This one needs a native speaker's or a very experienced ear... I tried to search for usage in Google Books, but there seem to be to many variables for a definite conclusion (IMO). (Another concern: I' not quite sure, but I'd say that "Alex" should be enclosed in commas). – Lucky May 3 '15 at 17:38
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    Yes, if you are talking to Alex directly, then there should be a comma before and after Alex: Thanks, Alex, for all the money saved through your tips. – user6951 May 3 '15 at 17:57
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    I've got no problem with through but I'd probably choose by using or by following myself, because only by actually doing what the tips suggest can you save some money; the tips themselves are just suggestions and one must actually follow a suggestion to receive benefit. – Jim May 3 '15 at 18:26
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Ciao, Federico

You have used through (definition 5, by means of) correctly in your sentence. Good job.

I will say that it is not all that natural. In other words, it's grammatical and understandable, but not idiomatic, not the most natural way to express the thought.

Through is often used as a result of a middleman, or to signify a process. Neither of these apply to your tips.

Also, are you thanking Alex directly? If so, you need commas before and after Alex:

Thanks, Alex, for all the money saved through your tips.

In addition, tips is ambiguous without further context, as the word can mean either (monetary) tips gained from working as a waiter, for example, or tips as in suggestions. I assume you mean the latter, and in any case it does not much affect the choice of preposition.

Changing no word except through, the following are perhaps preferable:

Thanks, Alex, for all the money saved from your tips.

and

Thanks, Alex, for all the money saved by your tips.

But, frankly, two more natural sentences are

Thanks, Alex, for all the money you (have) saved me by (means of) your tips.

and

Thanks, Alex, for all the money I (have) saved from/by (using/following) your tips.

Just as many native speakers would not normally choose the preposition through in either of these two sentences, we wouldn't normally choose it in your original sentence. There is no explanation as to Why, rather it's simply a matter of being familiar with which preposition sounds better, or "works" more naturally in a particular sentence.

I am a native speaker of American English.

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I think your sentence is correct. One of the meanings of the word through is as a result of. See the Cambridge dictionary.

  • are you native speaker? – Federico Gentile May 3 '15 at 18:02
  • @FedericoGentile Since he has not replied, I will say, as a native speaker, that the sentence sounds fully natural (with the commas, as suggested in a comment by @pazzo) and Alex's explanation is correct. – Eric May 3 '15 at 22:28
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I had a look through this post and found that a correct use was given through your example.

Essentially through is appropriate when you want to convey:

some kind of effect occurred through or via the method of some kind of cause.

The difference between through and because is that through implies that the action was required to produce the effect, where as because of only implies a reason. Compare:

  • I drove the nail in to a piece of wood through careful use of a hammer.
  • I covered my ears because the fire alarm was very loud.

The alternative suggestions are of varying help...

From would only be the correct construction if you were implying you collected the money as with the sheep here:

  • This morning I gathered the sheep from the field.

By following or by using isn't too bad, but there's a subtle difference. Constructing a sentence using one of these forms implies that the result of the action was final rather than part of a sequence of steps.

  • I reached my destination by following the signs.
  • I reached my destination by using public transport.
  • I reached my destination through the forest path.

I personally feel that only the third one implies that it is describing only part of how I got there, where as the other two imply that this was the only major part of the journey. In the case of your sentence, by following implies that the tips were complete instructions and that following them is all that is necessary, while through implies that the tips need to be understood and adjusted to fit the circumstances.

It is also appropriate when something is moving within something else, such as:

  • I walked through the room.
  • The room was lit by the sun coming through the window.

Edit: Also, because you asked Pazzo, yes I'm a native speaker. Pazzo is also correct that there should be commas around "Alex" in your sentence.

Edit 2: I just noticed you asked Alex S, not Pazzo, oops.

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