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Usage of the word "thru"



 
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Usage of the word "thru" #1 (permalink) Sat Feb 20, 2010 20:48 pm   Usage of the word "thru"
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #162 "Days of the Week", question 6

Monday thru Friday denotes the ......... of any given week.

(a) weekends
(b) standards
(c) weekdays

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #162 "Days of the Week", answer 6

Monday thru Friday denotes the weekdays of any given week.

Correct answer: (c) weekdays

Your answer was: incorrect
Monday thru Friday denotes the weekends of any given week.
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Hi,
The word " thru " suppose not to be written like that because when I looked it up from the dictionary, I learned that it is the informal use of the word "through" and it is used in US English.
So " Why is " thru" used?
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Usage of the word "thru" #2 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 0:03 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

"Thru" is the short form of 'through.' It is a North American variation of through, but it's not incorrect. We use British and North American English on this website. In North America, we tend to use this variation more when talking about days of the week etc.
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Usage of the word "thru" #3 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:03 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Hello English Teacher,

You are absolutely right that "thru" is informal. It is generally considered to be very informal, so I would recommend avoiding that spelling in formal writing.

As for using "Monday thru Friday" rather than "Monday through Friday", it is perfectly normal to use "through" -- even in North America. In fact, a search for each of those phrases in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) yields the following results:

- Monday thru Friday: 3 results
- Monday through Friday: 295 results

It seems "thru" is a little more likely to be used when the words "Monday" and "Friday" are also shortened. The COCA usage results for that variation were:

- Mon thru Fri: 6 results

So, the corpus results strongly suggest that writing "Monday thru Friday" is far less common than writing "Monday through Friday" in American English.

I agree that you will see "thru" used often enough in North America, but I don't agree that the example in the test is quite as typical as Linda suggests. You will frequently see "thru" printed on a sign directing you to the drive-thru window at McDonald's, for example. You might also see a sign on the highway that says "Thru traffic". (In fact, signs strike me as being among the most likely places to find "thru".) Sometimes limited access highways are called "thruways". To me, those would be more typical examples for the use of "thru". I expect that "thru" would be a favored spelling in text messages as well.
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Usage of the word "thru" #4 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:19 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

I didn't say that it wasn't 'normal' to use through in North America. I simply said that 'thru' is an American variation and it is used when talking about days of the week. I'm not going to dispute how often it's used. And, I won't dispute anything else on this topic, Amy.
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Usage of the word "thru" #5 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:46 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Linda wrote:
And, I won't dispute anything else on this topic, Amy.
Does that mean u r thru? Or does that mean you are through?
;-)

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Usage of the word "thru" #6 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:38 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Haha. I'm thru/through (your choice) :-)

You are correct when you said that "thru" is informal usage but, perhaps, students should learn slang usage. I maintain that the usage of "thru" as opposed to "through" is a common event that one can see in many places, in North America, besides drive-thrus. Maybe not in official publications, term papers etc., but it's out there and is, therefore, relevant to students who are learning everyday English.
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Usage of the word "thru" #7 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:37 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Oh, I agree that it's relevant, Linda. And shortened forms of words have been running around in the English language for ages. There's nothing new or shocking about seeing a shortened form of a word. Nowadays, "texting lingo" is even gaining some respectability. In fact, linguist David Crystal has been doing his best to defend it. You might be interested in this video (I was):

David Crystal and the Gr8 Db8

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Usage of the word "thru" #8 (permalink) Sun Feb 21, 2010 23:41 pm   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Hello both of you,
I meant to say even both words are used in your countries but as we are not there in yours we must learn first the formal usage of English.Moreover, such words we learned them in the old poems. I meant to say that old or informal lang. mustn't be taught in these first levels of learning English. ( I don't know, but this is my opinion )
regards.
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Usage of the word "thru" #9 (permalink) Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:44 am   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Hi English Teacher,

If I had my druthers, I'd teach only "through" to beginners since that is standard spelling -- standard in both BE or AmE-- and put off introducing the less standard form until later.

However, even ESL beginners often surf the Internet and end up in English chatrooms, where they will likely pick up some variant spellings (as well as variant grammar) pretty early on anyway. So, I think what's most important is that the teacher ensures that they learn what is standard and what is not so standard. That's how I look at it.

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Usage of the word "thru" #10 (permalink) Mon Feb 22, 2010 17:17 pm   Usage of the word "thru"
 

Hi Esl Expert,
From your nickname I assume you are definitely right, and I hope in future to keep in touch.
Thanks for sharing such valuable information.
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