Difference between toward and towards
Toward vs towards:
English Grammar could be really confusing sometimes. Although, English is not a diglossic language which has two grammatical structures for its written and spoken varieties, it could still be perplexing sometimes since there are many types of English in the world with several, unique differences. American English and British English which would be a fine example for this as they have many differences in relation to pronunciation, orthography, vocabulary, and at some point, to grammar and syntax. Those differences pave the way for perplexities. Thereby, the words ‘toward’ and towards’ are two words in the English language that many people get confused over. Therefore, this article seeks to clarify their status in English grammar by discussing what they mean and how the two words differ from one another.
What is ‘toward’?
‘Toward’ is considered to be an adjective and a preposition and the Webster Dictionary defines it as “in the direction of’ or ‘with direction to’, in a moral sense; with respect or reference to; regarding; concerning”. The prepositional sense of the word is defined as ‘’coming’, ‘approaching’’. This is the general definition given by most dictionaries. Moreover, talking about the practice, ‘toward’ is generally used in the North American English and in NAE, it implies movement and therefore it shouldn’t be used when ‘to’ or ‘against’ can be used as a better choice. Further, it is generally acknowledged that ‘toward’ is up to date. Now, let’s have a look at the different meanings of ‘toward’. As it is mentioned above, ‘toward’ is used as a preposition, or an adjective. Its meanings and occurrences can be illustrated as follows.
As a preposition:
In the direction of:
Ex: He was driving toward the school when she called him.
2. In a position facing:
Ex: While talking, she had her back toward him.
Somewhat before in time:
Ex: It began to snow toward evening.
With regard to; in relation to:
Ex: She bore an optimistic attitude toward the future.
In furtherance or partial fulfillment of:
Ex: The Company contributed thousand dollars toward the invoice.
By way of achieving; with a view to:
Ex: Those were purely the efforts toward peace.
As an adjective:
1. Favoring success or a good outcome; propitious.
2. Being quick to understand or learn (old fashioned)
3. In progress; afoot (rare)
4. About to happen; imminent (old fashioned)
5. Promising or favorable (old fashioned)
What is ‘towards’?
‘Towards’ is also considered to be an adjective or a preposition which is defined as ‘in the direction of’ or ‘with direction to’ as well as ‘regarding’ or ‘concerning’. The prepositional sense of the word is defined as ‘coming’ or ‘approaching’. ‘Towards’ is also an adverb and it is defined as ‘near’, ‘at hand’, or ‘in a state of preparation’’. Moreover, it is generally acknowledged that ‘towards’ is very similar to ‘toward’ in every way except that ‘towards’ is preferably used in the British English, meaning, in British English, ‘towards’ is the predominant form. Today, though some would say that ‘towards’ is becoming obsolete, it is still largely used. Now, let’s have a look at the different meanings of ‘towards’. As mentioned above, ‘towards’ is generally used in the language as a preposition or an adjective. Its meanings and occurrences as a preposition are illustrated below and in the adjective-sense, it is considered as a variant of ‘toward’.
As a preposition:
In the direction or vicinity of:
Ex: He headed towards Los Angeles.
2. With regard to:
Ex: He sincerely expressed his feelings towards her.
3. as a contribution or help to:
Ex: They raised money towards a new car.
4. Just before; somewhat before in time:
Ex: It happened towards one o’clock.
What is the difference between towards and toward?
Speaking of the difference between ‘toward’ and ‘towards’, it is something that has been much discussed. Though both words are mostly used in the same contexts to denote the same sense, there is a major distinction that lies between the two terms. The difference is something of a dialectal differentiation as the two words are used in two distinct varieties or dialects of English; American and British. ‘Toward’ is used in North American English whereas ‘towards’ is preferred in British English. That simply would be the major distinction between the two words.
Another minor difference would be that while ‘towards’ is considered as an adverb, an adjective or a preposition, ‘toward’ is only considered as an adjective or a preposition.
In conclusion, it should be noted that both ‘toward’ and ‘towards’ are acceptable and interchangeable. They can be used in replacement of each other. The choice between the two words is just a matter of convention of your country; choose ‘towards’ if you use British English or select ‘toward’ if you use American English. It is that simple.