Difference Between Through and Thru (With Table)

Whereas ‘thru’ is a non-standardised version of the word ’through’. That is, it is an alternatively spelt word which means the same as the word ’through’.

Language undergoes changes constantly. The changes are nuanced, circumstantial and situational. That is, language is always altered according to the circumstances and context in which something is being communicated. If you take into consideration the process of evolution of language for more than 10,000 years, it has come a long way from signs, symbols and words to the latest trend of using emoticons and gifs to express.

A huge difference can be noticed in the way people text and directly speak to their friends, family, acquaintances and superior officers. One can easily spot the way in which the speech is altered to suit the needs of the situation and the people involved in it. The selection of words and their spelling is a quick indicator to spot this difference. To be clear, the usage of words like good night and gud ni8; your and ur, etc shows this alteration in communication.

The words through and thru are examples that also show this contrast.

Through vs Thru

The difference between the words through and thru is that, ‘through’, which acts as a preposition, adjective and adverb in various occasions, is the standard way of presenting the word.


Comparison Table Between Through and Thru (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonThroughThru
UsageThrough is used as a preposition, adjective or adverb.Thru is used as an abbreviation of the word ‘through’.
SituationThrough is used in formal situations.Thru is used in informal situations.
AcceptabilityThrough is acceptable in all contexts.Thru is acceptable in informal writing.
StandardThrough is seen as the standard way of using its meaning.Thru is not the standard way of using the word and its meaning.
Contextual ExampleE.g.: through the driveway.E.g.: drive-thru.


What is Through?

The word ‘Through’ generally means movement from one thing to another, from one side to another, etc.

For example, when you say, “I am going through a tunnel”, it means you are moving from one end of a tunnel to its another end, that is, you are moving through the tunnel.

This word can also mean continuing with something till its end.

For example, when you say, “She has to get through this level to win the badge”, it means that that person should go through the entire level and complete it to win the badge.

The word ‘Through’ is also used instead of the phrase “by means of”.

For example, in the sentence, “The company bagged the new deal through promotion and marketing”, the word ‘Through’ is used as an alternative to the phrase “by means of”.

In this context, ‘Through’ means that the company landed on the deal by means of or with the help of promotion and marketing.

This word is also used in several other contexts such as when you are being connected to another person over phone or when your relationship with someone has come to an end.

Here are few examples to clarify its usage: –

  1. “Sure, ma’am. Let me put you through to the administrator’s office”.
  2. “Not one more word from your mouth! I am through with you. Our deal has come to an end”.

The word is also used as a part of the phrase” through and through”, which means completely or thoroughly.

Examples: –

  1. “He is their supporter through and through”.
  2. ‘Through’ performs the functions of a preposition, adjective and adverb, depending upon the subject of the sentence, its structure and the requirements of the situation.
  3. ‘Through’ is seen as the standard spelling of the word. It is used in all types of situations, articles and sentences.

What is Thru?

As mentioned in the introduction, two words can have different spelling by meaning the same.

When and ven, your and ur, you and u are pairs of words that mean the same, but have different spellings.In all these pairs of words, the latter is an abbreviated version of the former.

Similarly, ‘Thru’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘Through’.

It is a non-formal way of writing ‘Through’. This word is often seen in text messages and other informal pieces of writing. The most common usage of the word ‘Thru’ can be seen in the word ‘drive-thru’.

This word is frequently seen on signs at restaurants and even on traffic signals such as ‘no-thru’ signals.‘Thru’ is a non-standard way of writing ‘Through’ and is not accepted in academic and professional writings.

Although there is nothing wrong in texting your friend “How am I going to get thru the entire syllabus?”; using the word ‘Thru’ in a formal setting or communication thread is seen to be inappropriate.

Thru is an abbreviation of the word ‘Through’, like message and msg and ‘and’ and ‘nd’.

Main Differences Between Through and Thru

  1. The main difference between the words ‘through’ and ‘thru’ is that the former is the appropriate way of using the word. But the latter is an abbreviation of the word ‘through’.
  2. The word ‘Through’ is used in formal writings and communication. Whereas the word ‘thru’ is often seen in informal communication and messages.
  3. ‘Through’ is the accepted way of using the word. But ‘thru’ is not accepted in academic writings and professional articles and journals.
  4. ‘Through’ is seen as the standard way of its usage. But ‘thru’ is the non-standard way of its usage.
  5. While ‘through’ is used as preposition, adjective and adverb in sentences, ‘thru’ is used in text messages instead of ‘through’ or in phrases such as ‘drive-thru’ and ‘no-thru-signals’.



Both the words ‘Through’ and ‘Thru’ have the same meaning when used in sentences. They differ in spellings and in the type of contexts and situations they are used in.

While ‘Through’ is the standard way of using the word and its meaning and is accepted in all types of situations, ‘Thru’ is a non-standard way to use its meaning.

Thru is only accepted in informal situations and writings such as text messages and restaurant signals.

To sum up, both these words have the same meaning, but they differ as ‘through’ is the universally accepted word while ‘thru’ is an abbreviation of it, used in informal contexts.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00947679.1979.12066922
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi
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