- Toward and towards are two acceptable ways of spelling the same preposition.
- Toward is the preferred spelling in the United States and Canada.
- Towards is the preferred spelling in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Some words have multiple correct spellings. You probably already know this is true for certain verbs (e.g., spell vs. spelt) and several nouns (e.g., color, favor, neighbor); prepositions aren’t immune to it either. That’s why we have both toward and towards.
Toward vs. Towards
The only difference between toward and towards is the s. Both spellings are correct, and they mean the same thing: in the direction of.
Toward is the preferred spelling in the United States and Canada. In other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, towards is the more common spelling. The Chicago Manual of Style notices this difference; The AP Stylebook recommends using the shorter spelling.
Both spellings of the word can be traced all the way back to Old English. Toward, as we know it now, evolved from toweard, which meant “in the direction of.” Toweards was the Old English adverb derived from toweard by adding the adverbial genitive s.