16-bit unsigned short integers that range from 0 through 0xFFFF

16-bit unsigned short integers that range from 0 to 0xFFFF

Which expression is better above?

  • In British English, through means 'up to' (Monday≤Open<Friday) and to means 'up to and including' (Monday≤Open≤Friday).
  • In Australian English, it's the other way around.
  • In US English, they're interchangeable. People seem to go the way of the Ausies naturally when they hear through in California, at least.

Therefore, the writer has precedence and may assign the intended meaning if he or she feels it is necessary.

Here are some alternatives: from x up to and including y; starting from x ending in/with y; from x, not exceeding y; from x through to y, inclusive.

If you consider through as short for through to ("through beyond" wouldn't make sense), it becomes apparent why British English does not include y. However, if you look at through independently, you could imagine it passing the ending argument, as a thread passes through a needle.

  • 2
    In American English, 'through' means 'up to and including' because of pidgining. People sometimes used incorrect words that were closely synonymous in an attempt to be more clear when there were communication issues. This is one of those words. – Wolfpack'08 Oct 10 '11 at 5:29
  • 4
    I'm Australian, and I've studied a variety of mathematical and engineering texts, and "through" has always meant "up to and including" whereas "to" has always meant "up to" – Jordaan Mylonas Oct 10 '11 at 5:50
  • Monday > Friday.... HAHAHAHA. Oh boy. – Wolfpack'08 Oct 10 '11 at 10:25
  • Oh... I guess I didn't know what Jordan was saying. Through seems less ambiguous because you'd think 'through Friday' means 'until it is over', but if you consider the reality of its usage, it is actually short for 'through to', which only means 'up until'. Maybe it's different in Australian English. I guess if you consider the individualistic and inclusive approach, both could mean either. I'll edit my answer and exclude 'International English'. – Wolfpack'08 Oct 10 '11 at 11:43
  • 4
    In British English 50 years ago "Monday through Friday" was meaningless, and unless the context clarified it would have elicited a reply like "what do you mean 'through Friday'?" or "through Friday to when?". Now the expression is widely known, but to me it is still an Americanism. – Colin Fine Oct 10 '11 at 13:20

In British English, "to" can be both inclusive and exclusive. "Through" isn't usually used in this way.

In American English, "through" is inclusive.

So it depends on your audience. To be safe, use something unambiguous: "through to", or "up to and including", or "to X, inclusive".

  • 5
    +1 for "up to and including", which leaves no room for ambiguity. – user13141 Oct 10 '11 at 8:07
  • 3
    I can confirm that it IS used this way in American English, at least on the East Coast and on the West Coast, from Long Beach to Sac Town, to the Bay Area and back down. – Wolfpack'08 Oct 10 '11 at 10:31

As a Brit, I would never say Monday through Friday to mean including Friday or not including Friday. I would say Monday to Friday to include Friday. If I meant to exclude Friday I'd say Monday to Thursday. To me through means to some time later. I might therefore say Monday through to Friday meaning throught the week until (and including) Friday but the through seems redundant. As a mathematician I'd use 'to': 1 to 9 (inclusive or exclusive as the case may be), or more technical terms stating whether the set was open at either end.

  • So is this you as a Brit or Brits in general? Any idea? – Drew Apr 12 '16 at 2:03
  • 1
    And are you saying that you would never, ever say "(lower-limit) through (upper-limit)"? – Scott Apr 12 '16 at 2:21

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protected by tchrist Apr 12 '16 at 11:35

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