Toward vs Towards – When to Choose Which One and Why?

Although toward and towards mean contextually the same, where and how they are used can make a difference. Especially because they may sound the same and have similar vowel and consonant choices. But this is why we’ve come. Here is a simple discussion from 501 Words on how to properly use toward vs towards. Read on to understand them a little more clearly.

Toward Vs Towards

How To Avoid The Toward Vs Towards Error

There are several ways to avoid the toward vs towards error. The first way is to be consistent in your usage. For example, you should use the word toward when you are talking about walking. While both words have the same meaning, the usage of each differs based on the context of the sentence.

In British and American English, the word toward is the usual form of direction. However, some language usage guides suggest alternates. For instance, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage suggests using afterward instead of towards. In contrast, the Chicago Manual of Style is less strict about the issue and stresses the importance of knowing the regional dialects and writing for the appropriate audience.

Both the words toward and towards sound the same, but “toward” is preferred in North America. While both are correct in most contexts, Americans tend to prefer the word toward, while Brits prefer towards. As a result, it is often helpful to use the more correct form of a word.

When to use toward vs towards

While toward vs towards are equally acceptable spellings, and as prepositions, it is best to note that they cannot be interchanged at all times. You may also learn the Grammarly Review 2021 Free vs Premium. Here are some easy ways to learn the difference.

When to use “Toward”

The term “toward” used to mean “in the direction of”. However, the rules of formal English writing do not always apply in informal settings.

Americans sometimes use “towards” rather than “toward” when intentionally attempting to write or speak in a colloquial style. The transition from the formerly British-favored “towards” to the North American–favored “toward” began around 1900.

This is according to a study among American books, magazines, and newspapers published between 1800 and 2000. Aside from the meaning, “toward” can also be used when talking about feelings toward something or “for a purpose of” when working on something.

How to Use “Towards”

English speakers outside of North America prefer using “towards”. From the Old English term “tóweard,” which generally means “in the direction of,” “toward” is the older spelling. It originated during the 5th century.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his classic “The Canterbury Tales” in Middle English between 1387 and 1400 when the English spelling was standardized. Despite writing strict British, Chaucer uses “toward” the modern accepted North American English spelling throughout his book.

“Towards” became highly popular during the 17th century and remained the most common spelling among all English speakers until American English speakers revived “toward” during the 19th century.

Meanwhile, newspapers and magazines in the United Kingdom and Australia prefer using toward vs towards a highly disparate ratio of 1:10. Add Grammarly to your Microsoft word for easier grammar check to learn which one to use.


When to use toward vs towards?

Use “towards” for British audience and “toward” for the North American audience.

Toward vs towards, which is correct?

Both are correct. Although these words mean the same thing, you must take note of your audience, whether American or British.

A quick note on the difference

Although toward vs towards mean the same thing, you must take note of your audience, whether American or British. Yet, making a mistake does not necessarily mean affecting the idea because it does not. Post questions about proper spelling, correct spellings, grammar tips, shorter spelling, vocabulary differences or anything from the article in the comment box below!

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