Towards/toward (UNCLASSIFIED)

Fri Apr 11 20:55:49 UTC 2014

According to MWDEU, "Both words are commonly used in the U.S., but _toward_ is undoubtedly prevalent."  I see no basis for Wallace's claim that "towards" is an error in American English, although it seems informal to me.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Benjamin Barrett
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: Towards/toward (UNCLASSIFIED)

I have both. Although I personally try to use just "toward" in writing, the -s version is very common in AmE.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu!

On Apr 11, 2014, at 10:44 AM, Mullins, Bill CIV (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL> wrote:

> From a handout, when David Foster Wallace was teaching:
> -usage-mistakes/
> "1. The preposition towards is British usage; the US spelling is toward.
> Writing towards is like writing colour or judgement. (Factoid: Except
> for backwards and afterwards, no preposition ending in -ward takes a
> final s in US usage.)"
> I grew up in Tennessee, and "towards" doesn't sound wrong to me.  Is
> this usage more common in the South?

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