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Is It ‘Toward’ Or ‘Towards’? What’s The Difference?

Should you walk ‘toward’ or ‘towards’ the school? Both are grammatically correct and accepted. The difference lies in which version is more commonly used. In this blog, we’ll explain to you the difference between the prepositions ‘toward’ and ‘towards’, and when should you use which. 

Is It ‘Toward’ Or ‘Towards’? What’s The Difference?  | English Medium

What Is The Difference Between ‘Toward’ or ‘Towards’?

The only difference between ‘toward’ and ‘towards’ is the alphabet ‘s’. Both spellings are correct, and they mean the same thing: in the direction of. Toward is the preferred spelling in the United States and Canada. In other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, towards is the more common spelling.  Regardless of which spelling you choose, both words have the same meaning. However, when an adjective, only toward is correct.

Examples: 

  1. They live out towards the edge of town.
    They live out toward the edge of town. 
  2. They moved towards the tree.
    They moved toward the tree.
  3. Be considerate towards the poor.
    Be considerate toward the poor. 

In all the above sentences, you can see that irrespective of whether we use towards or toward the meaning of the sentence does not change. 

When Should You Use ‘Toward’?

As a preposition, toward is a directional word. It literally means ‘in the direction of.’ Figuratively, it can mean in relation to or for the purpose of. 

Let’s take a look at a few examples: 

  1. We must continue to work toward our goals despite any challenges.
  2. The bus is heading toward town. 
  3. She took a step toward the door.

Toward unlike towards can also be used as an adjective at times. Take a look at this example: 

  1. There is work toward.

When toward is used as an adjective, its meaning is not the same as that of the preposition. It changes from ‘in the direction to’ to  ‘approaching’, ‘coming [in time]’, ‘impending’ etc. 

Therefore, in the above sentence, the speaker is trying to say that there is work going on.

Towards does not have any other feature except for being a preposition. Therefore, “There is work towards”, is grammatically incorrect. 

Can You End A Sentence With Toward?

When toward is acting as a preposition, it’s best to avoid ending a sentence with toward. This is because, traditionally, it’s bad grammatical form to end a sentence on a preposition. 

However, times have changed and ending a sentence with a preposition is not considered a sin anymore. That said, if you are writing a formal document, essay, or paper, avoid ending a sentence on a preposition. Conversely, when toward is acting as an adjective, it can (and usually does) come at the end of a sentence.

Remember, both versions are correct and acceptable. Just stick to toward when using it as an adjective. 

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