Drive THRU or Drive THROUGH? Which is correct?

Both drive thru and drive through are correct in English. A “drive thru” is a place where you do not need to leave your car in order to receive your product or service. 

Did you see that new burger place has a drive-thru?

You can now use our drive-thru liquor store.


“Drive-Thru” is specifically used for the place where you can purchase food (or other products) without leaving your car. 

Fast food is the most common type of “Drive-thru” but it is also becoming more common to see drive-thru cafés and liquor stores. There are even drive-thrus for medical services.  

“Drive-thru” is more common than “drive-through” when you are trying to market a product because it is more informal.

Come check out our new drive-thru café!


Drive-Through is the correct choice if you prefer the standard spelling form of the word “through”. I would use ”drive-through” if I were using formal English if for example, I was writing an essay or a report.    

The sales of our drive-through department have increased by 117%.

Note that you need to use “through” when you are not using the noun form “drive-thru”. 

We need to drive through the tunnel. 

Drive-thru vs Drive-in

Drive-thru(or Drive-Through) is more common to use when you simply need to drive up to a window and order the product that you want and then drive away when you receive your product.

Drive-in is often when you leave the car stationary for a longer time. An example of this would be the old school cinemas where you would watch the movie from your car. 

Why do people use Drive-Thru and not Drive Through?

“Drive-thru” has been a common spelling since the invention of the service. The Mcdonald’s restaurants appear to have always used the spelling “drive-thru”.

What is the plural of Drive-thru?

The plural of Drive-thru is drive-thrus. The plural of drive-through is drive-throughs.

Do you need to use a hyphen(Drive-Thru)?

You don’t need to use a hyphen but it is better to distinguish between the noun form and the verb phrase. 

Let’s drive through the park. (verb)

Why don’t we go to a drive-through? (noun)