Word Choice: Threw vs. Through
  • 3-minute read
  • 7th December 2019

Word Choice: Threw vs. Through

“Threw” and “through” might sound the same, but these words have entirely different meanings. So, how should you use them? And is “thru” a different word entirely? Check out our tips below to find out how these terms work and how to avoid errors when using them in your writing.

Threw (Past Tense of Throw)

“Threw” is the simple past tense of the verb “throw,” which usually means “send something through the air with force.” For example:

He threw the dart and watched it hit the bullseye.

The participle form of this term is “thrown” (e.g., to have “thrown a dart”). These verb forms apply for all verb senses of “throw,” too. For instance, when discussing a party or celebration, “throw” means “put on” or “host”:

I will throw a party.

I threw a party.

I have thrown a party.

This is obviously a different usage than “launch through the air.” But we still use “threw” and “thrown” for the past tenses of “throw” here.

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Through (Adjective, Adverb or Preposition)

The word “through” can be an adjective, an adverb, or a preposition. It has several meanings, the most common of which include:

  • Amidst something (e.g., We walked through the woods)
  • From the beginning to the end (e.g., We sat through the presentation)
  • As a result of or via (e.g., He lost his money through poor investments)
  • Having finished with something (e.g., I’m through with this job)

However, “through” is never a verb! It thus plays a different grammatical role to “threw,” which should make it easier to tell these words apart.

Is “Thru” a Word?

In the early twentieth century, some spelling reformers argued for “thru” as a simplified version of “through.” And some dictionaries still list it as a spelling variant. However, this term is widely considered an informal or non-standard spelling. And it is rarely used outside of US English.

As such, you should avoid “thru” in most contexts, especially formal writing.

Summary: Threw or Through?

So, which of “threw,” “through,” or “thru” should you use in your writing? It all depends on what you’re trying to say! Remember:

  • Threw is the simple past tense of the verb “throw.”
  • Through has a range of uses as a preposition, adverb or adjective, including “amidst something,” “as a result of,” and “via.” However, it is never a verb!
  • Thru is a non-standard spelling of “through” and best avoided in most cases.

In terms of picking the right term, then, all you need to know is that “threw” is a verb. So if you need a word that describes an action (i.e., having thrown something), you need “threw.” But in almost any other situation, the correct spelling will be “through,” as this term is very versatile.

And if you someone to check the spelling in a document, we can always help.

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