What Happened to Threw?
by Owen Fourie
Vampires abound! They do—in the self-published e-books of young would-be writers.
If you read some of these works, especially those in the vampire genre, you’ll have to forgive the many errors in grammar as you work through other things, such as the muddle of points of view.
One flaw that I have noticed in many of these writings is the use of throw instead of threw.
You’ll find statements like these:
- She throw herself on the bed and covered her head.
- He throw open the window and entered her room.
- The vampire throw her to the floor and glared at her.
- The last flicker of the candle throw light on his face and she knew her attacker.
Obviously, the past tense of this verb is intended, but the writer is inconsistent and throw is left in the present tense. It seems that the past tense of throw is unknown to some.
Of course, throw can also be a noun referring to the act of throwing something or to a light covering for furniture.
Threw (through, thru, thorough)
Correctly, the above examples would use threw, which is the past tense of throw:
- She threw herself on the bed and covered her head.
- He threw open the window and entered her room.
- The vampire threw her to the floor and glared at her.
- The last flicker of the candle threw light on his face and she knew her attacker.
Is it possible that the word through has brought confusion to these young writers? Threw and through are homophones.
Through can be used as a preposition, an adverb, and an adjective:
- The vampire entered her room through the open window. (preposition)
- He opened the window and went through. (adverb)
- I’m through with vampires, she thought. (adjective; informal usage here)
Thru is an informal spelling of through and should not be used in your formal writing. It’s fine to use it in your lecture notes.
Thorough is a distinct word that must not be confused with through.
It is an adjective that is used to describe something that is done carefully, accurately, completely and perfectly.
The vampire’s attack was thorough, and he turned her into one of his own.
Originally, if you go back a few centuries, this word was used as an adverb and a preposition in the sense of through, and it survives in that sense in the word thoroughfare, a noun for a path or a road between two places.
This is the past participle of throw.
In the attack, the girl was thrown to the floor of her room.
Thrown and throne are homophones.
Throne, of course, refers to the ceremonial chair of a king, a queen, or a bishop symbolizing their power and authority.
Use threw, not throw, for the past tense of throw or you will be thrown down before the throne of the king of grammar, and he is a vampire who thoroughly drains you of all the fun in writing. 🙁
If you have noticed an increase in the usage of other verbs in the present tense instead of the past tense, please mention them in your comments. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.
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