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

In the English language, every little nuance matters. One simple word can often carry significant weight and alter the meaning of a sentence. Unfortunately, included in this mix of nuances is a common grammatical error that plagues many English speakers and writers: the “toward vs towards” predicament. This seemingly harmless debate over the preferential use of “toward” or “towards” has caused confusion and frustration among language enthusiasts for far too long.

To navigate through this linguistic minefield, we need to first understand the origin and subtle differences between the two words. “Toward” and “towards” are both prepositions indicating movement in a particular direction. In reality, they are virtually interchangeable, and the choice to use one over the other often depends on personal preference or regional dialect. However, some variations in usage arise when considering specific contexts in which each word is more commonly employed.

One key differentiation appears in American English versus British English. In the United States, “toward” is predominantly preferred, while its international counterparts tend to opt for the “-wards” variation. For example, an American might say, “He walked toward the door,” while a Brit might say, “He walked towards the door.” This linguistic variation can lead to confusion when encountering opposite usages in written materials or during conversations with people from different English-speaking regions.

Another factor to consider is the tone and formality of your writing. Depending on the context, one may choose the form “toward” to convey a more business-like or serious tone, while “towards” could be selected for a more casual or informal ambiance. Understanding the overall style and intent of your writing lends the necessary insights into which option to choose.

While keeping these factors in mind can help ensure proper usage of “toward” and “towards,” we must also acknowledge the evolving nature of language. Language mirrors society, and as society changes, so too do its linguistic preferences. In recent years, a gradual shift towards more informality in written communications has occurred, reflected in an increased use of “towards” over “toward” in various contexts.

However, it is important to approach these changes cautiously. While flexibility is important to adapt to linguistic trends, a sound understanding of grammar conventions must not be overshadowed. Adequate usage and consistent adherence to accepted norms are key to conveying one’s thoughts clearly and avoiding any confusion among readers.

In conclusion, the “toward vs towards” conundrum serves as a reminder that language is ever-evolving and often allows for multiple acceptable variations. While slight variations in usage exist between different English-speaking regions, one should remain closer to the traditional norms while being cognizant of ongoing social and stylistic changes. Remember, clarity in communication should always take precedence over specific word choices. Ultimately, grasping the nuanced differences and monitoring the ever-evolving language landscape will help navigate this grammatical maze and make our written and spoken expressions impeccable.

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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