Difference Between Through and By

Prepositions play a prime part in the English Language; A preposition is a word that links nouns, pronouns, or a phrase to the other part of the sentence to give a proper meaning. Prepositions are commonly small words that perform the linkage successfully.


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They are usually placed in front of the nouns.

In general understanding of the parts of speech, there are about 150 prepositions available for proper delivery of the English language, both verbally and written. Out of these 150 prepositions, many pairs create slight confusion about what to use and when.

The wrong usage of a preposition in a context may take the meaning of the sentence to a toss.

One such combination is Through and By. At the surface level, they both look similar in usage, but there are many differences between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Through” indicates movement within or across a space, while “by” shows proximity, means, or agency.
  2. “Through” can also express a continuous period, while “by” can denote a deadline or the latest point in time something should happen.
  3. “through” and “by” are prepositions, but they are used in different contexts to convey different relationships between words in a sentence.

Through vs By

The difference between Through and By is that Through is the preposition used to indicate a process, while By is the preposition used to refer to the means of something. Through is the word which indicates a location from one point to another, while By indicates the location which is next to it or beyond it.

Through vs By

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonThroughBy
Referring LocationThrough refers to a location from one place to another across a place.By refers to location, which is next to or past something.
Referring TimeThrough is used to describe the time during the whole timeframe or a period.By referring to a specific time.
Referring to a ThingThrough refers to the extent of a thing.By refers to the size, amount, or margin of anything.
1st Person referenceThrough refers to or describes the process of an activity. Through refers to the completion of an activity.By refers to the means of anything. By also refers to the modes of transportation.
Multiplicative TermsThrough is never used in Multiplicative TermsBy can be seen used in multiplicative terms.


When to Use the Word Through?

Through is a preposition used to refer to any process. It is an essential proposition that gives a clear picture of the task that is carried out.

Through ultimately shows the location from one place to another; for, eg. The cat jumped outside through the window.

This preposition also denotes the completion of the activity; the cat has jumped outside.

Through is a preposition which can be used in different ways. The word also gives a precise meaning to the sentences that involve past and beyond and relate to the context.

E.g. The castle has been through a century to date.

The time factor is also clearly addressed with the word “through”. E.g. I have been preparing for the exam all through the night.

This gives the meaning of through as the ‘whole period’.

It is also used to indicate how something has happened. E.g. The virus entered his body through his knows.

The physical location of something can be denoted using through. The use of Through exactly indicates the location.

E.g. The restroom is through the corridor.

The preposition “through” can also be used to complete an activity. It gives a clear picture of a task being completed.


  1. I got through my tests.
  2. Lilly went through the papers

When to Use the Word By?

By is one of the smallest prepositions that is used in the English Language. It connects with the nouns, pronouns, or phrases to the other part of the sentence to give it proper meaning.

The preposition gives connect the subject to the other part of the sentence. E.g. John went home for a walk.

By is a preposition which refers to ownership. In the case of actions also, it indicates the owner of the act with the use of By, e.g.

  1. John wrote the article.
  2. Jane Austen authored the book.
  3. The place was made dirty by Niki.

If it is observed, the sentences mentioned above are actions and refer to a person responsible for them. It is referred to only using the word By.

By can be used differently; it also refers to a location. It refers to the location which is next to or past something.


  1. John lives by the cottage.
  2. Lilly lives by the riverside.
  3. John ran by Lilly’s house last night.
  4. Lilly drives by John’s office on Monday.

The first two sets of examples give a meaning of living near something. While the next two give the meaning of going past the location.

By is a preposition which emphasizes a vital time factor. It indicates the time, which can be either before or not later.


  1. Please come by 9:00 AM.
  2. John shall complete the assignment by next week.

Main Differences Between Through and By

  1. Both prepositions are highly used in the English Language. The main difference between Through and By is, Through refers to a process while By refers to means of something.
  2. Through refers to the location from one point to another across a medium, while By gives a location that is next to or past beyond something.
  3. Through refers to the completion of an activity, while By refers to the modes of transportation. 
  4. The preposition through altogether refers to time as a whole entity and describes it as a whole-time frame, while By refers to time directly and specifically.
  5. Through is never used in multiplicative terms, whereas it can be found often in multiplicative terms.
Difference Between Through and By
  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/by
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/through
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