Toward vs. Towards

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Toward vs. Towards

Toward and towards are equally acceptable forms of the word primarily meaning in the direction of. Other than the at the end, there is no difference between them. Some people differentiate the two words in various ways, but these preferences are not borne out in the usage of most English speakers. Neither form is more formal or informal or more or less logical than the other (the Oxford English Dictionary says towards is more colloquial in British English, but we see no evidence that this is true in 21st-century British writing), so you’re safe using the one that sounds better to you.

But while both these directional words are used in all varieties of English, toward is preferred in American and Canadian English, while towards is preferred in varieties of English from outside North America. These are not rules, however, and exceptions are easily found.

In short: no difference at all.