Which Word Is the Correct One to Use: Toward or Towards?
by Owen Fourie
Some say toward; others say towards. Is one correct and the other wrong?
Toward a better understanding of toward or towards
Use toward or towards in the seven sentences below. Try reading them aloud to find your natural inclination. Orally, fill in the blanks. Do you tend to say toward or towards?
- Jerry contributed a week’s wages _______ the expenses of our trip.
- _______ daybreak, he and I set out to make camp where Rick would join us later that day.
- A powerful afternoon storm delayed us, but the weather began to clear _______ evening.
- The storm had detained Rick, too, and I was concerned for his safety as he made his way _______ our camp in the dark.
- I froze as I saw a young grizzly bear moving _______ Jerry who, having his back _______ it, had not seen the creature.
- Rick arrived at that moment, and seeing the bear, he distracted it and chased it _______ the river.
- The following day, we began our environmental experiments, and I began to enjoy the company of two knowledgeable friends who had an optimistic attitude _______ the future of the environment.
What is your tendency?
If you tend to use toward, are you correct? Yes.
If you tend to use towards, are you wrong? No.
Both words are correct, and you can use either one. They do not differ in meaning.
Consistency is recommended
What is necessary is that you should be consistent. Once you use toward in an essay or a speech, be sure to use the same form in the rest of your paper or your address. Don’t use both forms in the same work. Stick to one form and be consistent.
Various sources have indicated that toward is common in American English, and towards is common in British English. If it matters at all, you should conform to the usage that is common in your region.
If your writing crosses boundaries, as it would on the Internet, use the form that is natural to you, but always be consistent and use only that form, whether it is toward or towards.
It is easy to be inconsistent. If you happen to use the other form, on the odd occasion, relax. It is still correct.
If there are other words like toward and towards that make you wonder if one is right and the other wrong, mention them here for discussion. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.
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