toward versus towards

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what is the rule for when towards is used as a plural and when not, as in "Mary, John and Sally were traveling toward their goal" or "towards their goal"

asked Aug 07 '12 at 16:31 christy sutton New member

1 answer


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The issue is not singular or plural -- toward/towards is neither -- but proper spelling.

 

Both Garner's Modern English Usage (3rd edition, 2009, Oford University Press) and the Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition, 2010, University of Chicago Press) agree with Tolley. Toward is preferred in American English (including Canada) and towards is preferred in British English.

 

Despite Tolley's leniency, there are American experts who consider towards to be always wrong. Because you never know whether your teacher, editor, or reader will be "one of those", I suggest you use the preferred spelling for your region.

 

Note: other directional words ending in -ward -- downward, northward, etc. -- follow a similar American English versus British English pattern.

link comment answered Aug 07 '12 at 22:38 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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