Spread (out)

Online news can spread out quickly because most people these days have smartphones.


OK so first of all if something spreads, it’s difficult to ‘unspread’ it:

  • If untreated, the infection spreads quickly.
  • The infection can be killed off using antibiotics, but it doesn’t return to an original or basic form.
  • There is a need for action before chaos spreads further.
  • Chaos does not begin in a particular form and then return to that same form after it has spread.
  • Michael Jackson’s fame spread far and wide.
  • Michael Jackson is still famous and always will be!

Often an agent does the spreading:

  • People spread butter on toast and then jam.
  • It’s impossible to reverse this process.
  • He spread the ideas and beliefs which arose from Galileo’s studies.
  • These ideas and beliefs may change in time, but they don’t return to their original meanings.
  • They spread their ideology by sending missionaries around the world.
  • Similarly, ideology may change (it seldom does), but any change will be some kind of development from the original idea.

Spread out

When things spread out, they can usually return to their original state if necessary.

A thing can spread out:

  • The police spread out so that they could cover a wider area.
  • ..and eventually (presumably) they re-grouped.

A person can spread a thing out:

  • Bill Spread the money out on the table so that we could count it easily.
  • After counting the money it was probably put back together in a pile or in somebody’s wallet.


Returning to our opening example, let’s consider news and how news spreads. Does news spread and then return to ‘no news’ as though events never occured? Or do news stories last forever?

You decide:

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OK I understand

Online news can quickly because most people these days have smartphones.

Answer Key

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