English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have heard the following used often

Over the course of the semester, ...

but a friend recently told me

Through the course of the semester, ...

Are both of these usages of the idiom acceptable? I feel like the second one is strange while the first one is acceptable.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The first is certainly acceptable. Although I've heard the second example used, in my opinion it's not correct. It may perhaps be most charitably read as "through[out] the course of the semester", which is fine.

share|improve this answer
Agreed. 8 times as many links for the natural sounding #1 compared to the odd sounding #2. – dcaswell Aug 27 '13 at 3:55
As this is an English Language & Usage site, please use standard English formatting & capitalisation for sentences: it makes answers much easier to read. – TrevorD Aug 27 '13 at 10:37
@TrevorD — fair enough. In an on-screen context I have a preference for the newly-emerging conventions, but perhaps this isn’t the place to be avant-garde. (I’d add an emoticon here, but somehow it seems as though it might come across as disingenuous!) – simon Aug 27 '13 at 11:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.