Difference Between Thru vs Through

Difference Between Thru vs Through

Today, we’re going to clarify the difference between “thru” and “through”, to finally resolve the key areas that separate the two words, and precisely how or why you might use each one as a part of written language.

You’d be forgiven for thinking they’re both exactly the same. And largely, that’s because their meanings nearly are. What you need to understand is that it’s not really about their meanings.

It’s about how they’re used that makes them different. We’ll take a look at their definitions, followed by a quick reference table that you can come back to any time you find yourself confused about which one to choose.

Definition of Thru

Thru is: “A North American preposition.” As the description reveals, this word is used to “set up” another word, or sentence. Or to describe something passing into, or onto something or someone else.

This makes it pretty much identical to “through”, but the difference at the heart of this comparison lies in where it’d be appropriate to use this word. The word “through”, is far more acceptable for use in formal situations.

On the other hand, the word “thru” absolutely isn’t. The difference between through and thru is that the latter is a shorthand version. It’s an easier, more convenient way of writing it.

The origin location of each word massively differs, too. One is rooted purely in British English, whereas the other is an American invention. This has happened with a lot of English words, where American English speakers have “cut down” the length to make a shorter, more accessible version.

They’re both entirely appropriate to use as part of the same sentences. But you’ve got to pay close attention to the context you’re using them in, because this will determine whether or not they are appropriate. They do both carry the same meaning, however, and are used in more or less the same way.

Definition of Through

Through is: “The movement of time towards the completion of a period, process or action.” That’s another way of saying, that this word essentially stands for the passing of time in between one activity happening, and another one that directly relates to it.

That’s exactly how “thru” is used, too. But as we’ve already stated, “thru” isn’t an appropriate word to use in a formal setting, as it would look entirely out of place. This is where the word “through” would be appropriate, as it is the original, “correct” way to spell it.

“Thru” comes in very useful for everything from shorthand email and road sign communications, to text and written note use. It means that you don’t have to include as many characters, where space or time may be limited.

Main Differences Between Through vs Thru

We’ll now break down the “thru” vs “through” debate in the form of a visual table that easily identifies the key areas of separation.

Basis of Comparison Thru Through
When is it used?In informal settingsIn formal settings
Where does it originate?North AmericaEngland
What is it used as?A prepositionA preposition
Sentence examples“Thru passage.”“The passage goes through the tunnel.”
Where are you likely to see it?Shorthand sentences in emails, texts, or signsAs part of full, formal sentences

Though the above examples don’t sum up every possible difference between these two words, they’re a robust example of the key areas that separate them on the whole.

Difference Between Thru and Through: Conclusion

After reading this post, it’s probably easy for you to see why there is so much widespread confusion over the differences between these two words, and why we have two different versions of what is essentially the same word in the first place.

Having simplified translations of an original English word is actually very commonplace, and a natural result of language being used across several different countries. Everyone interprets language in their own way, after all! Any time you get lost on the subject of “thru” vs “through”, and you need to quickly determine what separates them. Simply cast a quick glance over the table in the previous section to jog your memory.