Spelling of towards or toward


Which spelling of the word toward or towards in this sentence? What expenses are coded towards Employee Benefits?

asked Jun 07 '13 at 15:12 Shelba P. Thornberry New member

2 answers


Both toward and towards are acceptable words.  People using British English tend to use the s, and those using American English tend to delete it.  However, your sentence should use neither one.  It is a word that shows movement of some sort.  You might put an expense toward something.  Put is a verb that is also indicating some movement.  Coded is more of a done deal.  There is action, but not movement from one place to another.


What expenses are coded as employee benefits?

What expenses are put toward Employee Benefits?


Notice that I also changed the capitalization.  This is one of those grey areas where the noun phrase could be either a title or a common noun.  In my first sentence, it is a common noun.  The focus is more on the action of coding the expenses.  In my second sentence, it is a title for the bookkeeping category.  The focus is more on what the expenses are that fall under that category.  I say it is a grey area because there is certainly room for argument both ways. 

link comment edited Jun 07 '13 at 15:34 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

This is a double-posting of this question; I'll repeat my reply again here.



First, the orginal posting is misusing the words toward/towards. Toward and towards imply movement. Thus they shouldn't be used when the sentence would be served by to or against.

Second, in American English the peferred form is toward; towards is prevalent in British English. Additionally, several international-journal guides suggest that toward is the internationally accepted form , and to delete "s" in -ward words: toward, northward, etc...

( see "Garner's Modern American Usage" 3rd Edition, pp. 819)


Thus you can choose to change the sentence from 

"What expenses are coded towards Employee Benefits?"


"What expenses are coded to Employee Benefits?"


"What expenses are coded against Employee Benefits?"

link comment edited Jun 07 '13 at 19:24 Erik Noble New member

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