Grammarians Are Just Making it Up Aren't They?

I was using the wonderful children’s dictionary, Kids.Wordsmyth.net for a project recently. While looking up “throughout”, I found a curious entry which highlighted something that’s bothered me for a while. What’s the difference between a preposition and an adverb?

OK, I know the difference, but it does seem as if some words are classified as both, when the difference in their usage or meaning is pretty minor.

Here’s what the dictionary says about throughout as a preposition:

definition: in, to, or during every part of.

The lights were on throughout the town.

The party lasted throughout the night.

And as an adverb:

in, during, or including every part.

The old house is still solid throughout.

from the start to the finish; during the whole time.

They remained friends throughout.
The only difference appears to be functional. Prepositions take objects so they’ve classified examples with objects as prepositions. If I added, “the war” to the end of the sentence They remained friends throughout would that make it a preposition instead of an adverb?
Perhaps readers who are greater fans of linguistics than I will step in and explain.

Source: throughout | Free On-Line English Dictionary | Thesaurus | Children’s, Intermediate Dictionary | Wordsmyth

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