‘Threw' vs 'Through': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on February 9, 2023

Did you go ‘through’ a lot in your life or ‘threw’ a lot? What’s the difference between these words? You’ll learn the answers to both questions in this article, plus how to use both words in a sentence of your own.

Not a fan of waiting? Here’s the short version of the difference between the two:

  • ‘Threw’ is a verb that means to throw something. It’s the past tense of throw.
  • ‘Through’ is an adverb and a preposition. It means entering on one side and exiting through another.

These words sound the same but mean different things, making them homophones. We’ll go into more detail about that later.

‘Threw’ vs. ‘Through’ – What’s the Difference?

The difference between ‘threw’ and ‘through’ is that the former is the past tense of throw, which means to propel, project, or cast something forward with motion or direction.

You might say someone threw a ball at you in gym class.

But it can also imply mental, emotional, or figurative action.

  • For example, you might say something threw you for a loop, meaning something surprised you to the point that you didn’t know what to do.

The latter implies going into something at one end and exiting out of the other end.

  • For example, you might say you went through a tunnel while traveling. But it could also refer to emotions.
  • For instance, you might say that you went ‘through’ a hard time last year.

Remember, they're homophones - they sound the same but mean different things.

‘Threw,’ ‘Through,’ and ‘Thru’ – How to Choose the Right Word 

You know a little bit more about what ‘threw’ and ‘through’ mean, but what about ‘thru’? And how do you use each one correctly?

Let’s take a quick look:

  • Use ‘threw’ when referring to the past tense of ‘throw,’ meaning to project or cast something in a forward motion.
  • Use ‘through’ when talking about entering one end of something and exiting through the other end or when you’re talking about going ‘through’ an emotional event.

‘Thru’ is just an informal way to spell the word ‘through.’ Some people only use it when referring to the drive ‘thru.’

Definition and Meaning of ‘Threw’ and ‘Through’

At this point, you already have a general idea of what both words mean, but let’s see what Merriam-Webster has to say.

According to that dictionary, ‘threw’ means the past tense of throw.

The same dictionary defines ‘through’ as indicating movement into at one side or point and out at another and especially the opposite of.

It could also mean by way of, without stopping for, and to indicate the passage from one end or boundary to another, because of, or over the whole surface or extent of, from one side to the other, and completely.

You might also hear it used to mean completion or accomplishment, out, or direct.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Threw’ and ‘Through’

Since we know what both words mean, let’s see how to pronounce them correctly.

  • To pronounce both words correctly, check out the phonetic spelling: THROO

How to Use ‘Threw’ and ‘Through’ in a Sentence

Using ‘threw’ and ‘through’ in a sentence shouldn’t be too hard, especially with the following examples:


  • I threw my niece a surprise party for her sweet sixteen. She was ecstatic!
  • She threw the ball way too hard, and it hit me right in the face. I was so mad.
  • My brother threw up the moment he came home from a party at his friend’s house.
  • No wonder she threw her hands up like that. Her son had run into the street.


  • Let’s take a shortcut through the fence to get to school today. We’re already late.
  • I got through the book Everything Everything in just eight days. It was such a good read.
  • My best friend went through a lot last year. I was there for her every step of the way.
  • She went through the drive-thru to get some chicken nuggets and fries for dinner.

Concluding Advice on ‘Threw’ and ‘Through’

To recap, we learned that:

  • ‘Threw’ is a verb. It’s the past tense of throw.
  • ‘Through’ acts as an adverb and a preposition. It refers to entering on one side and exiting through another.

Remember, these words sound the same but mean two totally different things. Therefore, you should avoid using them interchangeably.

If you ever get stuck on anything, don’t be afraid to come back for a quick visit to refresh your memory. We’ve got a ton of content on confusing words and phrases you might see as you’re learning English. And it’s all for you. Go check it out.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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