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Through and through

[ 2009-10-16 14:32]     字号 [] [] []  
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Through and through

Reader question:

Please explain “through and through” in this sentence: You must trust him, for he’s honest through and through.

My comments:

How about thorough and thorough?

Joking, but that’s how you can remember the idiomatic expression “through and through”. Whenever someone is described as embodying a certain quality through and through, he has that quality in its entirety.

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, explains “through and through” thus:

“In every part or aspect, throughout. For example, I was wet through and through, or He was a success through and through. This idiom originally was used to indicate literally penetration, as by a sword. The figurative usage was first recorded in 1410.”

There’s nothing else for me to add, except point out once again that the simplest way to remember “through and through” (and, for that matter, other similar simple sounding idiomatic expressions) is to see it in print and see it often. That way, you’ll one day find yourself using it in your own writing and using it correctly (and seemingly effortlessly).

So, without further ado, read these examples:

1. A headline (Toronto Star, October 3, 2009): Warren Potter, 83: ‘A reporter, through and through’.

2. Another headline (Dailymail.co.uk, August 11, 2008): Gordon Brown’s latest book project is British through and through.

3. In this collection, the Guardian and Observer newspapers are able to provide a unique chronicle of Best's life. His whole career is told through the newspaper reports and features on him that appeared in the Guardian and the Manchester Evening News - from his first appearances for Manchester Utd as a teenage starlet through the glory days of the 6-0 trouncing of Northampton and the European Cup win in 1968 to the long obituary assessing his sad later decline.

These compassionate, insightful pieces are written by numerous famous - and unexpected - names, from Hugh McIllvanney to John Arlott. They reflect Best's sad destiny to become more famous for his indiscretions (his drinking, his affairs, his absences-without-leave) than his football. They also trace his transformation from the willowy Belfast boy who become a Manchester man through and through to the rotund and peripatetic football gipsy who drifted from Fulham to the US to Hibernian and even Dunstable Town, and eventually into the sad alcoholic bar habitue in Chelsea.

- George Best: A Life in the News, Guardianbooks.co.uk, September 27, 2009.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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