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Phrasal verbs are one of our most requested topics, so here’s a lesson specifically on one common phrase: go through.

This phrasal verb is a version of the verb to go. To go through something can mean a few things! So, keep reading below to go through a few examples (see what I did there?) for each different definition! 😘

Phrasal Verb Usage: To search for something carefully or in a sequence

  1. Go through the contacts on your phone and see if you already saved her phone number.
  2. His email got hacked, so he wasn’t able to go through all the messages we sent him.
  3. She went through the election ballots one by one to ensure every vote was counted.
  4. Someone broke into my grandmother’s house and went through all her belongings.
  5. I like going through my closet every time the seasons change to take out clothes I no longer use.

For something to be officially approved or completed

  1. My sister is waiting for the sale of her house to go through so that she can move to Spain.
  2. Once the merger goes through, the company I work for will have a new name and CEO.
  3. Once the judge allowed the verdict to go through, the courtroom sighed with relief.
  4. I tried calling you on the phone yesterday, but the call didn’t go through.
  5. Her loan application went through and was approved, so now she can buy a new car.

To undergo, usually a difficult or painful experience

  1. He had a bad skiing accident, so he will have to go through a few surgeries to fix his knee.
  2. You can’t understand what a person is going through unless you’re in their position.
  3. Going through chemotherapy is an exhausting experience.
  4. Sometimes you need to go through a difficult experience to appreciate an easy one.
  5. Have you ever gone through a break-up? I’ve never been through anything like this before, and I’m so sad.

To use or spend a resource completely

  1. We went through all our snacks about halfway into our road trip. We didn’t pack enough!
  2. If you ever go to a casino, be sure to not go through all your money!
  3. He inherited some money from his mother, but he went through it all within a few months.
  4. Newborn babies go through diapers almost as fast as nurses go through gloves.
  5. I love Valentine’s Day, but it’s really hard to not go through all the chocolates in one sitting.

To perform a set of actions you do regularly

  1. I make sure I’ve gone through all my daily tasks before I’m done with my work for the day.
  2. I go through the mail every evening after I get home from work.
  3. If you had gone through the list of grocery items, you wouldn’t have forgotten to buy milk.
  4. My new trainer at the gym has me going through different sets of exercise repetitions to tone my muscles.
  5. Make sure you follow the recipe and go through the instructions carefully, or you’ll mess up the soufflé.

To become a law or rule

  1. If a law goes through, or if it goes through a law-making institution, it is officially approved.
  2. Hopefully, the changes we suggested will go through, and our spending budget for the new fiscal year will be much larger.
  3. The United Stated abolished slavery in 1865, when the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went through.

To be successively published

  1. The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, one of the most popular Castilian Spanish dictionaries, has gone through 23 revisions since first being published in 1780.
  2. I’ll be done with my doctoral thesis in March, after going through about a dozen drafts.
  3. I thought the copy machine was printing my proposal, but it went through about 100 copies before I realized it was printing blank pages.

To have a quick thought or idea

  1. An idea for the theme of our graduation party went through my mind during English class, but now I can’t remember it.
  2. I’ve gone through a few names for our new puppy, but I don’t love any of them.
  3. Can you go through a few extra ideas in your head before we do our presentation?

To practice something

  1. Stage actors often go through their lines before they act on stage.
  2. I love watching ballet dress rehearsals and seeing the dancers go through all the choreographies.
  3. She was going through all her flash cards before taking the SAT exam, but she wasn’t allowed take them into the testing room.

* Related phrases:

Go through with: To go through with something means to do something that you have planned or agreed to do, especially after not being sure you want to do it.


  1. Once they had been separated for a year, she felt confident she could go through with the divorce.

Go through the roof: to increase quickly to a high level, or to suddenly become extremely angry.


  1. The company’s stock prices have gone through the roof this quarter.
  2. When he found out that his car was stolen, how blood pressure went through the roof.
  3. When I was younger, if I didn’t practice my scales every day, my piano teacher would go through the roof and reprimand me.

Go through the floor: to fall to an extremely low level.


  1. With all the drama surrounding the CEO’s departure, the company’s stock prices have gone through the floor.

Go through the motions: to do things in the usual way, but without much effort of enthusiasm, because you do not expect to succeed.


  1. Maybe the peace talks will be successful this time. Until then, all the leaders are going through the motions.

Go through your paces: to show other people how good you are at a particular activity; to boast, show off, or brag.


  1. The team went through its paces in preparation for tomorrow’s game.

Go through a red light: also known as to run a red light, it’s when you don’t stop when there is a red traffic light.


  1. The truck’s brakes stopped working and the driver went through a red light at the intersection. There was a huge accident.

Go through the mill: to experience a difficult or unpleasant period of time. (A mill is an engine or piece of equipment used to grind grain into flour.)


  1. She told me that she’s really going through the mill with this divorce. She’s so tired of fighting with her ex in court.

Go through the wringer: to suffer, or to make someone suffer, an unpleasant experience. (A wringer is an old-fashioned laundry machine that wrings out all the excess water after washing.)


  1. After the bank robbery, the police put every employee through the wringer to make sure it wasn’t an inside job. They still haven’t found the thieves.

Go through hell: to suffer through something extremely unpleasant, often for a prolonged period of time.


  1. Cancer patients really go through hell when they start chemotherapy treatment.


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