Threw and Through

By Maeve Maddox

When I read the expression “through me for a loop” in a recent comment, I can tell you, it threw me for a loop!

I decided to cruise the web and see if this version of the expression had become common.

It has.

Admittedly most of the usage I found occurs in comments to articles, in forums, and on the sites of non-professional writers, but it’s out there:

…when… myspace page came up, it through me for a loop.

This question through me for a loop with its emphasis on reflective transfer.

…something happened yesterday that really through me for a loop.

I must admit the appearance of wood through me for a loop.

The menu through me for a loop.

Since such things are catching, I’ll review the difference between threw and through.

The word threw is the simple past of the verb to throw, “to propel through the air”:
throw threw (have) thrown

The word through is a preposition used to indicate penetration or passage:
The bullet traveled through the vest. The hikers crawled through the low tunnel.

To throw someone for a loop is to confuse or shock a person. To knock someone for a loop has the same meaning:
The news of her advisor’s death knocked her for a loop.

The words threw and through are pronounced alike, but, so far anyway, they have different spellings in standard English.

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11 Responses to “Threw and Through”

  • Cayleigh

    Personally, I’ve never seen “through me for a loop,” and even typing it made me want to cringe. It’s just not proper English…if English at all.

  • Simon Kewin

    Maeve,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “thru” standard in American English? I’m not sure if you use both spellings. Certainly here in the UK “through” would be correct but sometimes the US spelling creeps in – to the dismay of traditionalists …

  • Hariman

    Sometimes I am confused between “No heart feelings”,”No hard feelings”, and “Bear with me”, “Bare with me”.

    I am not native English speaker, and within some of the mailing list I followed both forms sometimes appear.

  • Frank Elliott

    Simon,

    Rest easy. “Thru has not become standard in American English. It’s not taught in our schools. But it is often used in hand-written memos or in e-mails as an expedient. (We just can’t spare the time to form the extra letters required by the actual word!)

    As for “through me for a loop:” I attribute it soley to the same process by which amateurs use “there” when they mean “their.”

  • Bill Leary

    I like to watch the other closely related word of sorts, “thru.” In 1986, Congress drafted major tax legislation using the term, “look-thru.” As part of technical corrections a year or two later, it corrected its mistake and inserted, “look-through.” As a result, we all sleep better even though the consequence was the same….

  • Stephen Thorn

    Another example of the ineptitude or laziness of those who throw words together, as opposed to writing or crafting sentences. I see more examples of this lately and it makes me shake my head in sadness at the seemingly bottomless well of idiocy from which our species gulps so gluttonously.

    I have to wonder if, in the near future, all homophones will devolve and dissolve into single words to cover a multitude of meanings depending on context. Then we’ll all just write “thru” to mean “through,” as well as “threw.”

  • Maria Cristina Auras

    As a free lance English teacher most of the subjects on your website list interest me.

  • Maria Cristina Auras

    As a free lance teacher most of the subjects on your website list interest me.

  • Darla

    Perhaps there are just a lot of errors. Yesterday, I was distracted when typing and I typed the word “use” when I meant “huge”. Maybe it’s just a common mistake when distracted? It doesn’t make sense, how can you even state a past tense of term?

  • jim

    Im over a year late coming across this, but its more than likely written by someone from britain with a poor grasp of british spelling. through, you’d use as in ‘I went through a tunnel’ and threw as in ‘i threw the ball’

    It’s basically olde English I guess, I know you use tire meaning the tire on your car and to say you are tired im going to bed.

    here tyre is the rubber thing on your car, and tire means to be physically be tired. The language sounds the same but there are many subtle differences in how its developed.

    and THRU is not a word, would you ever actually write that in a sentence? I hope not.

  • $*45^86

    America is big, and you might just be more than a little bit egocentric to think you know what the rest of us are doing and is standard in our part…. If you had your way, the language would never evolve and get better at all. Stop being so anal.
    Anyway, another word for lazy might be “efficienct”.

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