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Becky Writes
11-08-2006, 06:09 AM
Do you walk toward or towards something?

Mandy-Jane
11-08-2006, 06:15 AM
In conversation, I would say towards, but I think that's wrong. In writing I would write toward.

pdr
11-08-2006, 06:31 AM
is an American versus Standard English difference.

Americans use toward, the rest of us use towards.

Becky Writes
11-08-2006, 06:39 AM
So which should I use (not dialogue)?

Silver King
11-08-2006, 06:42 AM
Americans use toward, the rest of us use towards.
So it stands to reason that, once again, it's good to be American.;)

Seriously, this question comes up at least once or twice a month. Both forms are correct, and the same applies to backward and forward and upward and downward and so on.

Like pdr says, let your audience guide you.

Medievalist
11-08-2006, 06:42 AM
It's dialect marker, a hold over archaic bit from the days when prepositions and adjectives had cases.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/19/T0291900.html

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.

Becky Writes
11-08-2006, 06:55 AM
Thank you all very much!

Silver King
11-08-2006, 07:03 AM
You're welcome.

(I just had to say that because my wife's name is Becky also, and your handle reminds me of her so much that I'm forced to be polite.)

veronie
11-08-2006, 07:54 AM
I've always favored toward (forward, backward, upward, downward, etc.) without the "s", but i'm sure it's my American bias. But, part of my reasoning is also that the "s" seems sloppy, in that no other prepositions would have them. I don't stand nears the door, and I don't move closers to the camp fire.

K1P1
11-08-2006, 04:52 PM
So what case takes the "s" ending? Nitpickers want to know...

Julie Worth
11-08-2006, 05:35 PM
Many in the South say towards, but publishers are in the North, and they say toward. I say itís not worth fighting over.

Annie O
03-18-2007, 03:19 PM
I use toward and I'm across the pond!

Lance_in_Shanghai
03-24-2007, 07:19 AM
Yes, pdr, it is a British English style to add the "s" to toward. But be careful you don't appear smug or condescending when you say "the rest of us" as though only Americans say "toward". In fact, 75 percent of the world's English speakers speak American Standard English... so it is you that is in the statistical minority.

veinglory
03-24-2007, 07:24 AM
75%, Really? I mean UK-style written language use is pretty common, almost universal with a few minor adjustments, in the commonwealth countries (1.7 billion c.f. the US's 300 million). It pays not to make too many assumptions in either direction. For a start, as I recall, pdr is not a Brit.

I have my (Kiwi) s's cropped by US editors pretty regularly--I try to remember to leave them off for that market.

Lance_in_Shanghai
03-24-2007, 09:58 AM
Right, pdr, you're not a Brit but that doesn't mean you don't speak Standard British English.

...didn't say "in countries where English is the predominant native language..." Talkin' 'bout all English speakers worldwide. Yep, 'tis a fact with which we all must live.

Many Americans in the last decade are commonly taking on British-isms such as 'as well' at the end of a sentence. Similarly, many young British are taking on the slang and other Americanisms they get from Internet and music. I can't assume someone is British or American. I only have become aware of the fact that there is a battle going on for supremacy when I hope we can all lay down our 'swords' and pick up our pens. Just as the Chinese 'language' is actually not one superior dialect, so we should admit that this mixed up, variable thing we speak has evolved not only in America, all of whose English speakers came from Ireland and Great Britain, but also in the Commonwealth.

Flay
03-24-2007, 10:27 AM
Yes, pdr, it is a British English style to add the "s" to toward.
Or, perhaps, the American English style to subtract the s from towards?

loquax
03-24-2007, 12:05 PM
But be careful you don't appear smug or condescending when you say "the rest of us" as though only Americans say "toward". In fact, 75 percent of the world's English speakers speak American Standard English... so it is you that is in the statistical minority. Now that's smug and condescending!

FloVoyager
03-24-2007, 08:30 PM
I've always said towards, forwards, backwards, etc., and I'm in the southern US, so I guess that's why. I was wondering, after reading all the controversy about this and knowing I'm not British, where I got that habit. I just write the way I want and do a find/replace in the editing to catch the pesky (non-dialog) s's. As Julie (above) points out, the publishers are in the North and say toward.

pdr
03-25-2007, 08:13 PM
Ooh, I nearly missed the excitement!!!
Time to be condescending again, my favourite occupation obviously!

Er, excuse me, young Lance, that was Veinglory (Thank you, Em!) answering not me. But she's correct.

You can't have your cake and eat it as well. Don't try playing number games about who speaks which English, there are more of us than you!

So tell me why Americans keep insisting that theirs is the only version of English around and everyone must speak it! In the Commonwealth we have a wealth of Englishes and we enjoy them all.

It would help if Americans actually knew this. So many of you don't. I have to meet and work with a lot of the JET teachers who come to Japan from America. These are youngsters usually just out of University so they are, I assume, educated Americans, yet most of them haven't a clue that American is not spoken everywhere or that many of us speaking our own English don't wish to speak American, we enjoy our own culture and like to use our own version of English.

spacekitton
04-05-2007, 08:56 AM
Nice to know. I guess I'm going with towards, it just rolls off my tongue better. :Shrug:

Captain Morgan
04-09-2007, 12:19 AM
I've always used Towards, Backwards, etc. Canadian English long ago made English-English official. That's Queens-English for Americans who don't know this. Or UK-English.

Being close in proximity to the US, a lot of books with American English slip through. I don't think Canadians get beat with a stick anymore if they slip up and use an American word like 'toward' anymore. Though I did notice my girlfriend from the U.S. didn't even realize that 'Towards' is a word. She thought it didn't exist.

Looks like we all have to pay for Webster's crimes. It's a nuissance, but I guess we can't go back now. America still pushes its Websters dictionaries, the United Kingdom still pushes the Oxfords. However, since the last I checked, the American english standards was accepting BOTH Toward and Towards, I have decided to always stick with Towards as it should be universally accepted. If a publisher happens to be some biased American, they can always change it before it goes to print.

Silver King
04-09-2007, 01:09 AM
...I have decided to always stick with Towards as it should be universally accepted.
Some folks think it should be, others don't. As you've stated, and others have also, both forms are acceptable.


If a publisher happens to be some biased American, they can always change it before it goes to print.
Well, you know how those Americans are, biased through and through. Maybe they just don't understand why esses trail certain words when they're unnecessary, so they opt to do without them.

(Great username, by the way. It makes me thirsty.)

Flay
04-09-2007, 12:59 PM
Canadian English long ago made English-English official. That's Queens-English for Americans who don't know this. Or UK-English.
Really? When was the last time you saw aluminium spelled with the second i in a Canadian book?

One of the many good things about being a Canadian is that both UK & US spellings & usages are widely accepted here. For many decades, the Canadian Press style guide insisted on US (i.e., u-less) spellings for words like honour & colour. That didn't change until the late 1980s, when the CP bowed to popular usage & went back to u-spellings. Some Canadian publishing houses still use US spellings & usages in their house styles. It really doesn't matter which system you use, as long as you're reasonably consistent. And as long as you remember that there's only one s in nuisance, whichever country you're in.

By the way, the mostly widely accepted Canadian dictionary (The Canadian Oxford) gives both toward & towards as acceptable, & it gives toward first.

Captain Morgan
04-09-2007, 11:17 PM
It is no secret that NewsPapers (not known for any great grammar nor writing) do try to lean on American spelling. This is because often the U.S. spelling chops off a character, often an S or a U. In this industry, everything is based around precious paper space to squeeze in more advertising. They will bend over backwards to save just one line worth of column-text.

I hardly think people should follow writing styles because it's what a business (Press) states what they prefer. Good writing is not in their best interest, it is profits.

Toxic_Waste
07-14-2007, 09:50 PM
It is no secret that NewsPapers (not known for any great grammar nor writing) do try to lean on American spelling.

Sure, you can find examples of bad writing in just about any venue, but don't be so quick to assume that newspaper writers are somehow below par. I am not mentioning this to brag, but only in self-defense: I have several statewide awards on my wall earned from doing my best to write top-quality articles.


I hardly think people should follow writing styles because it's what a business (Press) states what they prefer. Good writing is not in their best interest, it is profits.

Here again, I beg to differ. If I want to sell something to a publisher, I had darned well better research their submission requirements and preferences. And the same with the next one and the one after that, etc., even if their preferences differ widely. And good writing IS in the publishers' best interest, because without it, what profits can they expect?

If you want to write for strictly personal satisfaction, that's fine to stick with your own preferences and ignore those of the publishers, but if you want to write and get checks in the mail, you have to treat it as a business as well as a passion. We writers are fortunate we can combine both work and pleasure.

Chasing the Horizon
07-26-2007, 07:07 AM
Is it bad to mix the 's'/no's' thing from word to word? I always use towards, backwards, forward (no s), downward (no s), and both upward and upwards.

I'm northern American and use towards because it sounds more 'natural' (to me, anyway).

I certainly hope no editor is petty enough to reject an MS because it doesn't match their toward/towards preference (it's not like I'm going to fight with them over changing it).

rugcat
07-26-2007, 07:18 AM
I've noticed that Canadians tend to use towards, and I have a theory that people from bordering states also use it more often than the rest of the U.S. I used to use towards all the time, but I changed my ways because copy editors always changed it for me and I thought I'd just save them some work.

Silver King
07-26-2007, 07:25 AM
When I speak, I use the "s." It seems more natural. When I write the words out, I drop the "s" every time, unless it's used in dialog.

Choose one or the other. As long as you're consistent throughout your work, it shouldn't matter.

PVish
08-09-2007, 05:28 PM
According to the AP Stylebook, "toward, not towards."

Of course, my copy is a 1995 edition. Anyone got a more recent one? Or a Chicago Manual of Style?

I live in the South, so I'm used to hearing towards. OK, what I hear sounds more like toe-ardz, but you get the picture.

maestrowork
08-09-2007, 06:45 PM
Both are fine. Just be consistent. Personally I use "toward" but I know the Brits use "towards."

Death Wizard
08-09-2007, 08:38 PM
As a journalist, I was always taught toward and backward.

veronie
08-10-2007, 12:25 AM
Strange enough, this is one of those issues that people have strong emotions about, one way or another. I've argued my perspective before, and I'm not going to repeat much of it here. But I will say this much: If you like to use the "s" in towards, then consider why you don't put the "s" on other prepositions (ins, outs, backs, ups, etc.).

I used to use towards, and it seemed natural to me. When I gave it more thought, it seemed that toward (no "s") was more logical, and now it seems most natural. When someone says "towards" or "backwards" or what have you, it really hurts my ears.