Difference Wiki

Across vs. Through: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 26, 2023
Across refers to spanning or moving from one side to another, while through indicates moving in one side and out the other.

Key Differences

"Across" and "through" are both prepositions, but their usage and meaning differ in various contexts. "Across" typically denotes a horizontal movement from one side to another, while "through" suggests a movement that starts at one end and emerges at the other end. Consider a river: one might swim "across" a river (from one bank to the opposite bank) but swim "through" a tunnel submerged within that river.
In another instance, think of a park. A person can walk "across" the park, implying they started at one end and finished at the opposite end. However, if they walked "through" the park, the emphasis is on the experience of moving amidst the park's elements. The preposition "through" often suggests a more immersive or encompassing experience compared to "across."
When referring to reading or engaging with content, "across" and "through" also have different implications. Reading "across" multiple books indicates sampling or gaining a broad understanding, while reading "through" a book emphasizes reading it from start to finish.
In contexts involving challenges or difficulties, "across" and "through" also differ. For instance, if one comes "across" a problem, they encounter or stumble upon it. If they work "through" a problem, it means they are engaging with it and trying to resolve it.

Comparison Chart


From one side to another horizontally
From the beginning to the end of something

Movement Emphasis

On the surface or span
Inside or within

Engagement with Content

Sampling or gaining a broad understanding
Full immersion or complete engagement

Encountering Obstacles

Stumbling upon or finding
Engaging with and trying to resolve

Spatial Reference

Across a space or area
Through a space, object, or area

Across and Through Definitions


Spanning or covering a space.
There was a rainbow across the sky.


Moving in one side and out the other.
He went through the door.


From one side to the opposite side of something.
She walked across the bridge.


By means of or using a particular medium.
I heard the news through the radio.


Encountering or stumbling upon something during a journey.
I came across an old photo while cleaning.


From beginning to end.
She read the book through in one night.


On the other side of a particular area or place.
The store is right across the street.


Throughout the extent of.
The thread goes through the needle's eye.


Widely throughout a place or area.
The news spread across the town.


As a result of or because of something.
They succeeded through hard work.


On, at, or from the other side of
Across the street.


In one side and out the opposite or another side of
Went through the tunnel.


So as to cross; through
Drew lines across the paper.


What does "across" imply when reading content?

Sampling or a broad understanding.

Which preposition indicates moving in one side and out the other?


If I swim from one riverbank to another, which word is appropriate?


If I encounter a problem, which preposition should I use?

Across, as in "come across a problem."

If I am working to solve a problem, which word fits best?

Through, as in "work through a problem."

If I am referring to reading a book from start to finish, which word should I use?


What does "through" suggest when engaging with a challenge?

Engaging with it and trying to resolve it.

Which preposition denotes movement from one side to another?


How does "through" relate to the experience of something?

It often indicates full immersion or complete engagement.

Which word is used for indicating a movement inside or within a space or object?


If I want to say I found something during my journey, which word is suitable?

Across, as in "came across."

If I want to mention a rainbow covering the sky, which word fits?


Which word is used when something moves inside a particular medium?


How does "across" relate to the surface of something?

It often indicates movement or position on the surface or span of something.

Which word emphasizes more on the experience of moving amidst elements?


If I walk from one end of the park to the other without focusing on what's inside, which word should I use?


If news is spread widely throughout a town, which preposition is appropriate?


Which preposition is used when hearing news by means of a particular medium?


How do "across" and "through" differ in terms of spatial reference?

"Across" often refers to a space or area's surface, while "through" indicates movement within a space, object, or area.

If I want to mention a thread passing the eye of a needle, which word should I pick?

About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons