Writers Talk About Writing
"Toward" or "Towards"?
November 13, 2014By Mignon Fogarty
Welcome to the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. In this tip, Mignon advises on the usage of toward vs. towards.
Toward and towards are both correct and interchangeable: you can use either one because they mean the same thing.
Many sources say the s-form is more common in Britain than in the United States. The safest choice is to consider your audience:
- If your audience is primarily American, use toward.
- If your audience is primarily British, use towards.
For a deeper analysis of the usage patterns of toward vs. towards, see Jonathon Owen's column, "Towards a Fuller Understanding of Usage," which argues that "towards is seemingly rare in American English because copy editors make it rare."