Original Question

Although 通过 is the goto expression for passage through or across a space in informal, spoken Mandarin, there are specific alternatives used in more formal, spoken Mandarin as well as in writing. This question serves to provide the community with a comprehensive list. EDIT: As "comprehensive list" questions are frowned upon on the StackExchange network, this question's purpose shall be to illustrate the classes of *过 verbs.


通过 to go through something in a general or abstract sense
经过 to go past something; EDIT: or to pass something
透过 through, via, or by way of something
穿过 to go through a structure such as a tunnel or hallway
Consider the sense of piercing or penetration that comes from 穿

What additional situation-specific alternatives to 通过 exist? EDIT: What classes of *过 verbs exist?

  • 1
    通过 is absolutely formal.Both of these have specific contexts.There are lots of words can be used with 过 to express "through something".like 闪过,盖过,突过,铺过,折过。
    – sfy
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 9:14
  • 经过 to go *pass something
    – Pete C.
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 11:37
  • 1
    @PeteC. OP is correct, it should be "to go past something" (you can check out english.stackexchange.com/a/51341) but it is "to pass something" here's something to confuse everyone: I went past my friend's store today. I passed (by) my friend's store today. Did you go past my friend's store too?
    – Ming
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 0:21
  • 1
    @Ming OK my bad :)
    – Pete C.
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 14:02
  • 1
    @PeteC. no worries, native English speakers get that mixed up too, it's a common problem :) Notice when 'past' is used, it has a verb before it (went, go) but with 'pass/passed', it is being used as a verb itself. Hope that helps :)
    – Ming
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


First of all, , by itself, mainly has two meanings:

  1. to pass (as a verb), e.g.: 过江(to pass a river)
  2. mistake (as a noun), e.g.: 大过(a serious mistake)

I guess in this question you are more interested in the first one and will share my two cents on that.

I can see two dimensions for classifying the *过 words of the sort that you mentioned:

  • How to pass what is to be passed

    It depends on the meaning of the *:

    1. through it: 通过, 穿过, 透过 etc.

    2. outside of it and without (or at least not emphasizing) touching it: 经过, 越过, 超过 etc.

    3. outside of it and touching (or making one feel that it almost touched) it: 扫过, 擦过, 拂过 etc.

  • How abstractable the word is

    (Let's ignore literary innovations for this case)

    1. the great majority of the words are mostly restricted to their space-related literal meaning: 穿过, 越过, 超过, 扫过, 擦过, 拂过 etc.

    2. a few of them can be extended to the time dimension (to pass a period or an event): 经过, 度过 (note: in modern Chinese, 度过 can only mean to pass a period or an event, its space-related counterpart is 渡过)

    3. some other few of them can be abstracted to mean by means of: 通过, or to look through something (to observe): 透过 as in 透过现象看本质 (to look through the phenomena to observe the essence)

After finishing writing the stuff above it suddenly occurred to me that there's another usage of that's also relevant:

adj. + : to be more adj. than

e.g.: 好过 (to be better than), 热过 (to be hotter than), etc.

You may deem them as being abstracted by nature.


2 alternatives in an abstract sense: iciba: 以(介):例句:他~自学完成了大学全部课程,



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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