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edfrzr
04-05-2006, 10:56 PM
...when in doubt, ask the geniuses at AWWC. What is the proper usage of these two words. Both sound applicable in most any situation.

Thanks in advance.

Fern
04-05-2006, 11:23 PM
You got my curiosity going so I cheated and looked it up on the internet. Says toward is more commonly used in the US and towards in the UK. Also states they are interchangeable.

luxintenebrae
04-05-2006, 11:29 PM
I've always used "towards" in everyday speaking, but I finally read in a grammar book somewhere a couple years ago that it should be "toward," so I make sure I write that now instead. I'm not sure if "towards" is ever grammatically correct in the U. S. At least it wasn't according to that book, but I don't know.

Sandi LeFaucheur
04-06-2006, 01:46 AM
My Collins Dictionary (UK, 1985) indicates that toward is a variant of towards, when meaning in the direction or vicinity of: towards London; with regards to: her feelings towards me; as a contribution or help to: towards a new car. Toward, on the other hand, is marked (now rare) in progress, afoot; (obsolete) promising or favourable. As a preposition, toward is a variant of towards.

So if you're English, use towards. If you're American, use toward. And if you live in Canada, as I now do? Depends on whether you're subbing to a UK or US publisher! I'm sure Canadian publishers would be happy with either.

veronie
04-06-2006, 03:04 AM
Toward. I always cringe when I hear towards. It sounds sloppy to me. Also, it's afterward, not afterwards.

pdr
04-06-2006, 03:59 AM
Toward. I always cringe when I hear towards. It sounds sloppy to me. Also, it's afterward, not afterwards.

It must be those Americans mangling good English again!!!

Woa, Reph, I put smiley faces in here very carefully so you'd know it was a leg pull and all htat's appeared is a string of commands not smiley faces! Sigh!!!

It's towards. I always cringe when I hear toward. It sounds sloppy to me. Also, it's afterwards, not afterward.

Isn't it funny how we all just know what's right!

janetbellinger
04-06-2006, 04:10 AM
I think towards sounds better. But then, I'm Canadian.

CaroGirl
04-06-2006, 06:09 AM
When I was in journalism I was taught to use toward, exclusively (based on the Press Style book that we used). But you know how journalism is, they want to use as few letters as possible to cram everything into those narrow columns.

veronie
04-06-2006, 07:55 AM
That little "s" just doesn't belong there; it really isn't needed. "Toward" and "afterward" are just fine as they are. To me, saying "towards" is a lot like saying "tos" "I'm going to give my money tos the cashier." Enough people saying that long enough and next thing you know they've gone and put it in a few dictionaries.

Maybe I'm just weird, but most style guides agree with me.

Oh, and one other thing I just thought of. I would be inclined to use "towards" in fiction dialogue. Gotta be true to those characters. :)

Sury
04-06-2006, 08:27 AM
That little "s" just doesn't belong there; it really isn't needed. "Toward" and "afterward" are just fine as they are. To me, saying "towards" is a lot like saying "tos" "I'm going to give my money tos the cashier." Enough people saying that long enough and next thing you know they've gone and put it in a few dictionaries.

Maybe I'm just weird, but most style guides agree with me.

Oh, and one other thing I just thought of. I would be inclined to use "towards" in fiction dialogue. Gotta be true to those characters. :)
It's just at issue of American and British usages. Neither is sloppier or more sophisticated than the other. Neither is incorrect or something that's become standard because a lot of people used them for a long time.

I grew up learning British English in India and thus always used "towards" and "afterwards" in my writing. Well, until I began writing a book for an American publisher. My editor told me "towards" was a no-no in American English. I listened to him and took out the "s."

I am assuming you are referring to American style guides, veronie?

Sury

veronie
04-06-2006, 08:33 AM
Yes, I am talking about American style. But, and no offense intended, I wonder why British use allows for "towards." Like I said, the "s" seems to serve no purpose to the word and appears as though it crept onto the word after years of misuse.

It seems sloppy to me, but not because I'm used to the American way. In fact, most Americans also say and write "towards" and "afterwards." I did, too. But, when I found out the "s" was frowned upon by editors, it made sense to me that it shouldn't be there.

PastMidnight
04-06-2006, 01:08 PM
Like I said, the "s" seems to serve no purpose to the word and appears as though it crept onto the word after years of misuse.


According to the OED:

In English the history of -wards as an advb. suffix is identical with that of -ward...beside every adv. in -ward there has always existed (at least potentially) a parallel formation in -wards. The two forms are so nearly synonymous...that the choice between them is mostly determined by some notion of euphony in the particular context.

...

Thre appears to be no appreciable difference in meaning between the preposition TOWARD and TOWARDS; the latter is now, at least in British use, more common colloquially. The now obsolete prepositions FROMWARD and FROMWARDS appear to have been perfectly synonymous.

By reading other sections, it appears that the "s" is a remnent of an Old English adverbial genitive ending, although it didn't change the meaning of the adverb. The early references that the OED has for towards and toward date from the same time.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif

Sandi LeFaucheur
04-06-2006, 01:40 PM
According to the OED:

The now obsolete prepositions FROMWARD and FROMWARDS appear to have been perfectly synonymous.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif

I think we should bring back "fromwards". Now that is a great word! To my mind, it makes no sense whatsoever. Must weave it into a story!

Jamesaritchie
04-06-2006, 03:21 PM
Yes, I am talking about American style. But, and no offense intended, I wonder why British use allows for "towards." Like I said, the "s" seems to serve no purpose to the word and appears as though it crept onto the word after years of misuse.

It seems sloppy to me, but not because I'm used to the American way. In fact, most Americans also say and write "towards" and "afterwards." I did, too. But, when I found out the "s" was frowned upon by editors, it made sense to me that it shouldn't be there.

Most Americans are only semi-literate. If yu write like "most" people in any country, you're screwed.

As for why the extra es, isn't extra letters very British? It seems like every other word they have contains a yoo that has no business being in the word.

CaroGirl
04-06-2006, 04:30 PM
As for why the extra es, isn't extra letters very British? It seems like every other word they have contains a yoo that has no business being in the word.
I beg to differ on this point. Most of the words to which you're referring: colour, valour, amoeba, foetus, etc. come about their spelling quite honestly. The spelling comes from the much older languages from which they were derived (French, Latin). The British didn't "add" letters, Americans removed them (rightly or wrongly).

maestrowork
04-06-2006, 04:55 PM
I came from a British educational background, and now I'm an American. I used "towards" and "afterwards," but now I use "toward" and "afterward."

edfrzr
04-07-2006, 08:04 AM
...Thank you one, thank you ALL. I guess the one thing I will take from this discussion is, BE CONSISTENT.

I agree immensley about the dialog, It's just the way people talk, and as I move closer to publication, all my "towards" are now a little lighter.

Thanks again,