Is it towards or toward?

Some words trip me up for no good reason. In crit groups this is one of the words that constantly brings about a session of head scratching and confusion.

Some critters repremand me for leaving out the "s" saying it's "towards." While others scratch out my additional "s" saying it's "toward."

So I did a little digging.

You know what I found out?

It's both ... in a sense. It really depends on where you are from, which is the correct spelling. Towards is more common in British English whereas Toward is more common in American English.


Taken from Dictionary.com

to·ward   (tôrd, tōrd, tə-wôrd')

prep. also to·wards  (tôrdz, tōrdz, tə-wôrdz')

   1.      In the direction of: driving toward home.
   2.      In a position facing: had his back toward me.
   3.      Somewhat before in time: It began to rain toward morning.
   4.      With regard to; in relation to: an optimistic attitude toward the future.
   5.      In furtherance or partial fulfillment of: contributed five dollars toward the bill.
   6.      By way of achieving; with a view to: efforts toward peace.

adj. (tôrd, tōrd)

   1.      Favoring success or a good outcome; propitious.
   2.      often towards  Happening soon; imminent.
   3.      Obsolete  Being quick to understand or learn.


[Middle English, from Old English tōweard  : tō , to ; see  to  + -weard , -ward .]

Usage Note : Some critics have tried to discern a semantic distinction between toward  and towards,  but the difference is entirely dialectal. Toward  is more common in American English; towards  is the predominant form in British English.

Comments

Willsin Rowe said…
That one's always stumped me, too. Thanks for posting it, Katie.
KM said…
This some always gets me, as well, because I like the sound of "towards" better but my critique partners always change it. I'm holding onto that s until an agent says I can't have them. lol
Steena Holmes said…
I like towards ... it just sounds better to me.
Lorelei said…
There's a lot of confusing words out there. I've found the best source for questioning any words like this is grammar girl. If you go there, you'll find gobs of information on these things and more. I recommend the site. You can sign up for her e-news letter too.
Katie S said…
Yep Yep. Grammar Girl is awesome! I have one of her books.
Anita said…
I have a mental block with this one...am always messing it up and couldn't even concentrate when trying to read your explanation...must get therapy. :)
Crystal Marie said…
Good read! I didn't know this!

http://www.awordorthree.com