Toward or towards? | The Grammar Exchange Toward or towards? | The Grammar Exchange

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That was good and vitriolic enough for later American usage writers, who built on the idea that towards was unetymological and therefore base. Recently, we tackled ensure vs.

The word toward s is old: In the common parlance of uneducated people, nothing is more common than somewheres, anywheres, anyways, nowheres, etc. Gould's collected musings on usage and abusage called Good English, published in We begin to see, in the U.

The first call to arms that we can find in the usage literature is the Edward S. The British, however, had little to say about toward and towards until the 20th century.

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There are those who will claim that towards in American English is wrong, but it's really a matter of preference. Post your practice in the comments and take some time to read the practices of your fellow writers too.

The main difference between the two forms is whether the word is an adverb or an adjective. Those authors are doubtless followed by modern writers without number; but also, one might suppose, without reflection on the part of the writers; [ But American use of toward is significantly greater than British use of toward: Is It 'Toward' or 'Towards'?

Toward or towards - English Questions - eslHQ

Liz Bureman Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. No matter which version you pick, just be sure to maintain consistency. It is true that towards has been used less frequently in written, edited American English since the turn of the 20th century, but not much less.

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The stage was set for the odd state of affairs we currently have: Of towards itself, he says: If you're an American, you can use either word—some will claim that 'towards' is incorrect, but it's really a matter of personal preference.

In an article that is specifically about toward and towards, Gould quotes a bit of not entirely spurious etymology, notes that the Old English -weard has given us a parry glasspool relationships dating of words, and then claims that the addition of -s to these words is an "innovation" without merit: If any person should seek to defend it, he must carry his defence beyond the immediate cases [toward and towards] and include anywhere, everywhere, nowhere, anyway, everyway, noway, and so on.

When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly.

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Both are correct, so pick your favorite. For those who are not familiar with this particular regional quirk, there are some who hold that toward is preferred in American English, while towards is preferred in British English. The Short Answer Upwards or upward?

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All of these standards are valid, and you can decide which guide you prefer. But where is there a warrant for the addition of the final s to any of the words,—excepting its incidental, or perhaps accidental, use by certain old English writers, as Milton, Shakespeare, Dr South, and others?

Corpora of British sources and American sources show that British use of towards is only slightly ahead of American use.

Is It 'Toward' or 'Towards'?

You can follow her on Twitter epburewhere she tweets more about music of the mids than writing. The main exception is afterward swhich is always an adverb. This is one of those areas where American English and British English diverge.

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Let us know in the comments. It may be that toward was deemed literary to account for its historical use by solid English authors, and provincial to account for its preference in America. This is true for most -ward words: This is a bit odd, since the Old English of the 9th century was very particular about its case endings, but it appears that this was fairly common when it came to direction words in Old English: Even style guides differ in their recommendations.

American, British, or adverbs vs.

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Fowler put forth the contention in his Dictionary of Modern English Usage that all the -ward words are usually adjectives and all the -wards words are usually adverbs or nouns. The history of a usage rule that will drive you toward s a nervous breakdown Many English speakers know that British English and American English are different, and if pressed on how they're different, they'll likely point to some vocabulary differences like British "boot" for American "trunk" or some orthography differences like British "honour" and American "honor".

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Occasionally the -wards word also referred subtly to the manner in which the motion was executed, but this doesn't appear to be consistent.

Ignorant usage has already made that addition. Doug let go of a balloon and watched its upward motion as it drifted towards the sky. Or does it even matter? The early -ward and -wards words functioned as adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, but for reasons that we don't fully understand, grammarians and usage mavens felt that this messy state of affairs needed some tidying.

Both are correct, and they can be used interchangeably. But no one can come up with a good reason for the rule.

The Short Answer

Tweet this You can feel comfortable using either one. What should you do? If you go toward something, you etymologically move in the direction to that item. But from the earliest moment of toward's life, it was spelled both with a final -s and without.

Toward or towards? | The Grammar Exchange

But there are some sly differences that surprise even our word experts: These tricky words seem designed specifically to trip you up. More Words At Play. The adjective toward is much rarer than both the adverb and the preposition, which means that Fowler's prescription is essentially to use towards.

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The history of a usage rule that will drive you toward(s) a nervous breakdown

Consistency is Key American style, British style, or adverbs vs. If you're an American, you can use either toward or towards, depending on what sounds more natural to you. This is not borne out by the millennium of actual use of toward and towards. Is One Ever Better?