Why do we have two spellings: toward and towards?
The dart raced towards the bullseye.
The dart raced toward the bullseye.
Reader’s question: What’s the difference between toward and towards?
Answer: Toward and towards can be used interchangeably to mean ‘in the direction of’. They both derive from the same Old English word toweard.
Toward is more common in American English, whereas towards is used more in British, Australian and New Zealand English.
With other words ending in -ward and -wards implying movement, such as downwards and upwards, there used to be a distinction between adjectives and adverbs:
- -ward was used for adjectives (downward slope)
- -wards with adverbs (move downwards).
This distinction appears to be dying in Australia.
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