Figuring out if you’re supposed to use TOWARD or TOWARDS has stumped quite a few writers. Just as many have no idea this is even a writing decision to make. But either you or your editor will need to choose one.

What is the difference? An S, duh! Yes, of course. But how does the S on the end change the word?

Truth is, it doesn’t change the meaning of the word at all. Toward and towards mean the same thing.

Toward is used more with American English, and towards is used more with UK English. Chicago Manual of Style recommends toward, so that’s the rule I follow. But as the author, aka the CEO of Your Book Enterprise, you can use whichever version you desire, so long as you’re  . . .

consistent! You knew I was going to say that, right? Using both toward and towards will make your manuscript look like a sandbox full of typos. Typos are better than cat poo, but really, it’s best to keep the typos and the cat poo out of the sandbox.

Whatever you decide, be sure to follow the same pattern with similar words, such as forward, upward, and afterward. End them all without an S to be consistent with CMOS’s preference for American English, or tag on the S to be consistent with UK English. Or disregard the American English/UK English debate (because this is not a big deal) and choose what most appeals to you.

Copyright Ayers Edits 2021