Toward vs. Towards
What is the Difference Between "Toward" and "Towards"?
I was recently sent an email asking about the difference between "toward" and "towards." According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, and most usage experts, both terms are acceptable - neither is more or less formal than the other.
The only distinction between the two is that "towards" is typically used in British English while "toward" is more typically used in American English.
"Toward" vs. "Towards": The Numbers
If you do a Google ngram search, you can chart the usage of "toward" vs. "towards" in American English between 1800 and 2008. As you can see the use of "toward" far outnumbers that of "towards." By contrast, if you do a ngram search for the usage of "toward" vs. "towards" in British English during the same time period, you'll find the opposite, that the use of "towards" far exceeds that of "toward."
British or American?
So, the only factor you need to consider is the context: are you writing for a primarily British or Australian audience? Then use "towards." If you're writing for an American or Canadian audience, then use "toward."
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