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What is the meaning of the phrase: "The malware affects IE9 through IE11(Internet Explorer)"? Why can't we use "from IE9 to IE11" instead?

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    You can use that instead. The use of through in contexts like your example, seems to be part of American English in particular.
    – Tristan r
    Jul 3, 2014 at 18:46

4 Answers 4

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It's a difference between US and British English. Brits say "1 to 9" and Americans say "1 through 9" (or frequently "1 thru 9")

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Using through eliminates the question of whether the final endpoint (IE11) should be included in the range or excluded. Here IE11 is stated to be affected.

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"The malware affects from IE9 to IE11" sounds really strange to me in American English. The only example I can think of where the construct "verb from x to y" sounds "correct" when defining an inclusive set would be "awake from dusk to dawn". I don't think most American English speakers or writers would use that instead of "verb x through y" when they mean to include the x and y as part of the set.

Saying "The malware affects IE9 through IE11" is more technically accurate to me, since you are unambiguously saying that IE9 is affected, IE11 is affected, and so are all the versions in between. And you get to trim a word from the sentence!

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    The construct "verb from x to y" also sounds "correct" in the phrase count from 1 to 10.
    – J.R.
    Jul 3, 2014 at 21:20
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"To" indicates that the stopping point of the iterative count ends before ie11 begins. "Through" includes ie11 in the count.

That is to say using only integers, and excluding fractions 1 to 10 is the same as 1 through 9.

The easiest way to see the difference is with time. If you work from 1 to 5, you've worked 4 hours, because you stop at 5 without going through it. The five o'clock hour isn't included. If you work from 1 through 5, you're off work at about 6.

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  • why the downvote?
    – Ben Plont
    Jul 3, 2014 at 19:38
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    @ ben When you say, for example, "count from 1 to 5 " 5 is included in the range, you're not going to stop at 4. "to" does not indicate that the stopping point is before the last item in the list.
    – P. O.
    Jul 3, 2014 at 20:04
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    I agree with Jo. In some contexts, to is ambiguous whether the endpoint is included or not, but it is not right to say that it always excludes it.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 3, 2014 at 23:11
  • "to" isn't ambiguous. In counting it expresses the end point is reached in a range. OED. In counting "to" means you stop at X. 1 to 5 definately does not include 5. 1 through 5 includes 5. This is true in both English and Mathematics. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/to
    – Ben Plont
    Jul 4, 2014 at 20:37
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    Do you really expect shops that are open "From Monday to Friday" to close for the weekend on Thursday afternoon? Jul 4, 2014 at 21:12

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