Thursday, 10 January 2008

Through and Thru

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Is anyone else really sick of seeing the word 'Thru'? Of all the various inane marketing spellings it's the one that winds me up the most. I'm not sure why. Maybe ubiquity is a factor; it does seem to crop up everywhere.

The Grammar Vandal currently has a poll on her site asking visitors their opinion on when it is acceptable to use 'thru'.

I'm on team Never.

Related posts: Grammar abuse in signage: part 9

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Blogger Jason said...

Whenever someone would bring up anything about the more confusing aspects of the English language, citing things like "you're" and "your", my old boss would invariably cite "through" and "thru" as an example of the same thing.

I tried to explain to him that they're really both the same word, but he was convinced they had different meanings.

The only reason I can see for using it is to save space on your "Drive Thru" sign, which is still highly questionable.

10 January 2008 at 17:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a "marketing spelling." It's been around since about 1900 and was used by the Chigaco Tribune. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage calls it "nothing less than standard."

10 January 2008 at 17:59  
Blogger Gez said...

I'm aware of the Chicago Tribune origin. I'm still happy with my description of thru as a marketing spelling as that is the most common use these days.

Nothing less than standard? Merriam-Webster do like a giggle don't they?

10 January 2008 at 18:17  
Anonymous rpmason said...

Gez, you might want to trademark that last sentence. In any case, I'll credit you with it whenever I use it.

Anonymous, if you're American, let me introduce you to a little book called the American Heritage(R) Book of English Usage at Bartley dot com.

10 January 2008 at 22:01  
Blogger JD said...

The Concise OED has 'thru' as 'chiefly American, informal'. It doesn't, however, have an entry for 'nu' (except one on the Greek letter of the same name...)

11 January 2008 at 11:12  
Blogger Mighty Red Pen said...

I'm inclined to approach this on a case by case basis. While I'd gasp and faint if I saw it in any piece that landed on my editorial desk, I actually think "drive thru" is okay. Maybe I'm just too used to seeing it.

11 January 2008 at 13:49  
Anonymous Grammar King said...

Even my politics lecturer uses it! Admittedly she is American but it still grates on me.

11 January 2008 at 16:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rpmason, OK... the American Heritage Book of English Usage at Bartley dot com has nothing to say about "thru". The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says it's "rarely been questioned seriously in Informal use", and the American Heritage Dictionary says "Informal".

11 January 2008 at 17:20  
Blogger laura said...

I agree with mighty red pen. I will also say that errors that are more horrific than "thru" have landed on my editorial desk (and most of my writers are M.D.s).

11 January 2008 at 20:51  
Blogger Gez said...

Anonymous, are you deliberately being inconsistent with your closing quotation marks and full-stop placements? If so, well played; I noticed and it got to me.

This is assuming anonymous and anonymous are not two people.

29 January 2008 at 18:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I wasn't deliberately being inconsistent, and I hope my inconsistency won't detract from my point.

8 February 2008 at 21:19  
Blogger Gez said...

Be assured: I do not think less of your point due to your punctuation inconsistancies.

8 February 2008 at 23:11  
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