1. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Towards in the UK?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by architectus, Jan 26, 2009.

    Do UK writers write towards instead of toward?

    She walked toward the car. (American)

    She walked towards the car. (UK?)

    The reason I ask is because in, Perdidio Street Station, towards is used.
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what I was taught in English class, at least. It's possible it's changed since then...
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    We use both, but 'towards' is much more common. We also use 'backwards' and 'behind'--'in back' has no meaning in British English.
     
  4. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It would appear that as you suggest the form ending in /s/ is more common in the UK and the form without more common in the US. However, this appears not to be a rule and rather just dialectal variance, and quite often depending on context users use both and unconsciously too.

    Here is quite an interesting discussion on the subject:

    http://www.englishrules.com/writing/2005/toward-or-towards.php
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I followed the link, but is Am English really more concise than Br English?

    I'd say it depends what you mean by 'concise'. Let's not confuse ourselves with spelling rules here (they are a fairly recent invention). Or with length of sentence, because Am Eng uses the perfect tenses less, but these short sentences are not always more concise in conveying exact meaning--you sometimes need to tack on another sentence.

    My favourite example of lengthening a word is 'anesthetist' Br Eng vs. 'anesthesiologist' Am Eng.
    Another example of a longer version is the one I gave earlier: 'behind' Br Eng vs. 'in back' Am Eng.
    I could go on, but I'll spare you all. And neither version of English is more correct than the other, I hasten to add. Except that standard Br English is NOT a 'dialect'. Please.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm American and float between both spellings as mood dictates. I'm also prone to using the ou when American English says o, and re when American English say er.

    BTW, Perdido Street Station is monumentally awesome. Read the next two if you can get your hands on them. The Scar and Iron Council.
     
  7. othman
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    othman Member

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    Yeah, I think it varies greatly on many different factors ... but I think the majority of us say towards
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've always felt the 's' version to be silly and incorrect... there seems to be no valid semantic/etymological reason for tacking an 's' on the end...

    with backward, however [for some reason i haven't tried to figure out], i feel 'backwards' works best when used as, 'he rode backwards on the horse'... though we certainly wouldn't say 'he faced forwards' would we?... all just goes to prove yet again why english is one of [if not the] most difficult languages to learn, being by far the most messed up one of all, due to being a melting pot of so many others...
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, at a local rodeo I heard the announcer say, "That gal kin shoot backwards and forwards, y'all watch!"...LOL
     
  10. perylousdemon
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    perylousdemon Member

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    I've always used "towards". Neither is more correct (I'm basing this on the dictionary), but "towards" sounds better, in my opinion.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ya got me, salty!... guess i'd say that, too...
     
  12. othman
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    othman Member

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    Hmm, this is probably silly, but wouldn't 'towards' make more sense as in it's not a single movement ... also it's smoother to say, like in French they try quite hard to make everything roll off the tongue easily.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whether smoother or not would depend on what word follows it...
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    When we consider the suffix ward, and it's meaning, then it makes sense that it should be toward, forward, backward, afterward . . .

    However, he walked towards the office, sounds better to my ears. But, the fire didn't happen until afterward, sounds better to me. He walked backwards, sounds better than, he walked backward. She walked foward, sounds better than, she walked forwards.

    I don't know. They should all be one way or the other in my opinion.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what does that mean???
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I translated that as suffix -ward - I speak typo fluently. :)
     
  17. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    cog, thanks.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ok, so what was really meant was 'the suffix, "-ward"?... guess i don't read 'typo' and 'goof' well enough, guys... ;-)
     
  19. vyleside
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    vyleside Member

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    Over here, in England, I don't think I've heard anybody NOT say "faced forwards" (when the situation arose).
     
  20. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Technically, the accepted formal standard is not using the s.

    The reason it sounds 'better' to most people's ears is because they have grown accustomed to saying it improperly for so long that it simply sounds RIGHT.

    For example, mischievous is often pronounced, 'miss-chee-vee-us'.

    In reality, it is pronounced as it is spelled, 'miss-chi-vus'.

    Small i sound, not an 'ee' sound.

    But saying miss-chi-vus just FEELS weird. It doesn't sound right, even though it is.
     
  21. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Toward is technically correct in the US, but I believe towards is technically write in the UK. All the novels I read from UK authors use towards.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    per the best online style guide you'll find: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/t.html
     

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