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. Here is a simple discussion from 501 Words on how to properly use toward vs towards.

Toward Vs Towards

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 2020 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.

FAQ

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.

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