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“Toward” or “Towards”? (Spelling, Differences & Examples)

Toward or towards?

Toward and towards (with an ‘s’ at the end) are both correct spellings of the preposition that means “in the direction of somebody/something”.

It could also be taken abstractly, as in, “getting closer to achieving something”, or “closer to a point in time”; e.g., “towards the end of April“.

Toward vs. towards (UK vs. US English)

The spelling form of the past tense of ‘toward’ or ‘towards’ varies based on whether you’re using UK English or US English spelling conventions:

  • UK English spells “towards” with an ‘s’ at the end.

  • US English spells “toward” without ‘s’.

Note: while US English prefers “toward” (with no ‘s’ at the end), towards is still acceptable. The same is also true for UK English and toward without the ‘s’. Style guides usually have a preference between the two spellings, so if. you’re unsure as to which to use in your case, it’s a good rule of practice to consult the guide that’s relevant to your writing purposes.

Other US English and UK English differences

Common spelling differences between UK and US English are apparent across many words and spelling patterns:

Words with -our/-or:

  • (UK spelling) colour, honour, flavour, humour, behavior

  • (US spelling) color, honor, flavor, humor, behavior.

Words ending in -er and -re:

  • (UK spelling) centre, metre, fibre, theatre.

  • (US spelling) center, meter, fiber, theater.

Words ending in -ce and -se:

  • (UK spelling) defence, offence, licence.

  • (US spelling) defense, offense, license.

Generally speaking, when it comes to verb forms, American or US English prefers the standard verb conjugation to the past tense, which uses “ed”.

UK English prefers an irregular verb form, and the older English writing form of verb conjugations, which uses “t” as a past tense and past participle.

UK spellingUS spelling

“Toward”/”towards”, used in sentences

The money will go towards/toward a new school building

He was warm and tender towards/toward her.

They were heading towards/toward the German border.

She had her back towards/toward me.

“Toward”/”towards”, examples from the media

But the real animus seems directed towards the language changing Dodd-Frank.

—Bachmann and Pelosi vs. Boehner and Obama Over Spending Bill.

I began walking right, towards my dorm, when I realized I needed to go to the hospital.

—Liz Seccurio

“People are surprised to find themselves in the street and see Doctor Who walking towards them,” he said.

—Doctor Who: It’s Time For a Black, Asian, or Woman Doctor, Nico Hines.

“Towards”, synonyms

  • against
  • almost
  • approaching
  • nearby/nearly
  • about
  • nearing

Origin of ‘toward’

From Etymonline on toward:

Old English toweard “in the direction of,” prepositional use of toweard (adj.) “coming, facing, approaching,” from to (see to) + -ward.

Learn more about US English vs. UK English


  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of toward.” Online Etymology Dictionary Accessed 9 March, 2024.
  2. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, toward.

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