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Toward vs. Towards — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 12, 2023
"Toward" and "Towards" are both prepositions meaning in the direction of; the primary difference is regional usage: "Toward" is more common in American English and "Towards" in British English.
Toward vs. Towards — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Toward and Towards


Key Differences

Both "Toward" and "Towards" serve as prepositions indicating direction, purpose, or intention. In American English, "Toward" is the preferred choice, while "Towards" sees more usage in British English. That said, the meaning they convey remains consistent across both forms. For instance, "She walked toward the store" and "She walked towards the store" both express the same idea. While "Toward" might seem more concise to an American ear, "Towards" might sound more natural to a Brit. Importantly, neither version is wrong, but regional preferences do exist.
While "Toward" and "Towards" can be used interchangeably in most situations, it's worth noting the region or audience you're communicating with. If writing for an American audience, "Toward" might be more readily accepted. In contrast, "Towards" would probably feel more at home in UK publications. However, both forms exist in both dialects; it's just a matter of frequency.
The distinction between "Toward" and "Towards" is a subtle one, rooted more in tradition and regional linguistics than any strict rule. Whether reading a novel or an academic paper, encountering either form shouldn't disrupt comprehension. Instead, it might give a slight hint about the writer's background or the intended audience.
Finally, "Toward" and "Towards" are just two examples of many words that have such regional variances in English. These small distinctions, while not vital to grasp, offer insights into the rich tapestry of the English language and its evolution across different regions.

Comparison Chart


More common in American English.
More common in British English.


In the direction of.
In the direction of.

Part of Speech


Example Sentence

She moved toward the door.
He walked towards the park.

Regional Preference

U.S., Canada
UK, Australia, New Zealand

Compare with Definitions


As a contribution to.
She donated money toward the charity.


In relation to.
His feelings towards her were evident.


With respect to; regarding.
His attitude toward the subject is positive.


Just before a particular time.
It was towards midnight when they arrived.


Shortly before.
It's toward evening now.


Moving in the direction of.
The car headed towards the city.


Toward; (Scottish Gaelic: Tollard) is a village near Dunoon at the southern tip of the Cowal peninsula with views down the Firth of Clyde, located in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. During the Second World War, the Toward area was a training centre called HMS Brontosaurus also known as the No 2 Combined Training Centre (CTC), based at Castle Toward.


With a view to obtaining or having.
He saved money towards a new bike.


Variant of towards


As compared to.
Her attitude towards work vs. play is balanced.


Going on; in progress
Is something new toward?


In the direction of
They drove towards the German frontier


In the direction of
Driving toward home.


Expressing the relation between behaviour or an attitude and the person or thing at which it is directed or with which it is concerned
Our attitude towards death
He was warm and tender towards her


In a position facing
Had his back toward me.


Contributing to the cost of
The council provided a grant towards the cost of new buses


Somewhat before in time
It began to rain toward morning.


Variant of toward.


With regard to; in relation to
An optimistic attitude toward the future.


Alternative form of toward


In furtherance or partial fulfillment of
Contributed five dollars toward the bill.


In the direction of something (indicated by context).


By way of achieving; with a view to
Efforts toward peace. See Usage Note at backward.


Near; at hand; in state of preparation; toward.


In the direction of.
She moved toward the door.


See Toward.


In relation to (someone or something).
What are your feelings toward him?


For the purpose of attaining (an aim).
I'm saving money toward retirement.


Located close to; near (a time or place).
Our place is over toward the station.


Yielding, pliant; docile; ready or apt to learn; not froward.


(obsolete) Future; to-come.


(dated) Approaching, coming near; impending; present, at hand.


Promising, likely.


In the direction of; to.
He set his face toward the wilderness.
The waves make towards` the pebbled shore.


With direction to, in a moral sense; with respect or reference to; regarding; concerning.
His eye shall be evil toward his brother.
Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.


Tending to; in the direction of; in behalf of.
This was the first alarm England received towards any trouble.


Near; about; approaching to.
I am toward nine years older since I left you.


Near; at hand; in state of preparation.
Do you hear sught, sir, of a battle toward ?
We have a trifling foolish banquet Towards.


Approaching; coming near.


Readly to do or learn; compliant with duty; not froward; apt; docile; tractable; as, a toward youth.


Ready to act; forward; bold; valiant.
Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.


For the purpose of attaining.
He worked hard toward his degree.

Common Curiosities

In which countries is "Toward" more commonly used?

It's more common in the U.S. and Canada.

Are there any grammatical differences between "Toward" and "Towards"?

No, the difference is purely in regional usage.

Are "Toward" and "Towards" interchangeable?

Yes, but regional preferences exist; "Toward" in American English and "Towards" in British English.

Can I use "Towards" in an American publication?

Yes, while "Toward" is more common, "Towards" is also understood and accepted.

Is the distinction between "Toward" and "Towards" fading over time?

While regional preferences remain, global communication has made both forms familiar worldwide.

What part of speech are "Toward" and "Towards"?

Both are prepositions.

Do other languages have similar variations like "Toward" vs. "Towards"?

Yes, many languages have regional dialects or variations in word usage.

Is one form more correct than the other?

No, both forms are correct and convey the same meaning.

Do other English words have similar regional variations like "Toward" and "Towards"?

Yes, examples include "Burned/Burnt" and "Learned/Learnt."

Is the meaning of "Toward" and "Towards" limited to physical direction?

No, they can also indicate intention, relation, or purpose.

Can "Toward" and "Towards" be used in a figurative sense?

Yes, as in "His feelings toward/towards her were clear."

Can I use both forms in the same document?

For consistency, it's better to stick with one form throughout a document.

Is the pronunciation different between "Toward" and "Towards"?

The only difference is the "s" sound at the end of "Towards."

How can I decide whether to use "Toward" or "Towards"?

Consider your audience; use "Toward" for American and "Towards" for British readers.

Are "Toward" and "Towards" used in idioms or phrases?

Yes, phrases like "toward the end of" or "lean towards an option" use these words.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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