General Writing and Grammar Help/Be around - be through

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Question
Dear Ted:

If the following two sentences are both correct, do they have the same meaning?

1) We've been AROUND this before.

2) We've been THROUGH this before.

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:


If the following two sentences are both correct, do they have the same meaning?

1) We've been AROUND this before.

2) We've been THROUGH this before.

*** If you use "around," you are suggesting a circular motion, usually one that repeats itself too many times.  

EXAMPLE:  The English teacher has tried many times to explain to his students what is meant by a "sentence fragment."  Yet, they continue to commit this error.  He says to the class, "We've been AROUND this before; in fact, we've been AROUND this many, many times.  Why do you not understand?"

*** In my opinion, using THROUGH does not suggest more than two times -- although it "might."  EXAMPLE:  The English teacher says to his class, "We've been THROUGH the eight parts of speech before.  I see no reason to go over the material again."

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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