Moving toward correct usage


Jonathon's picture

I've always said and used


I've always said and used forms like towards. I remember being baffled when WordPerfect 6.0's grammar checker told me that it was British. But in my research for my thesis, I've found that striking the s from words like towards was one of the most frequent usage changes that editors make. To a large extent, it's not American English that has dispensed with the final s, but American editors.

Posted on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 10:57am

simplicity is best


By coincidence -- or possibly not so much a coincidence, since it's not that unusual -- I've had to deal with those very words in the project I'm working on. Both my marching orders and my personal preference is to go along with Chicago style and Webster 11, which means I drop the s's that the author inserted and noted them in the style sheet. Usually shorter is simpler, which is better. (I'm sure there are exceptions.)

Posted on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:04pm



Maybe there's some virtue in consistency: add '-s' for adverbials, don't for adjectives.

Hence "a backward culture" but "leaning backwards", "an untoward event" (stretching a point, I know) but "moving towards equality".

Oliver Lawrence

Posted on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:55pm

I second that


I also have always used towards (I'm American) and when I started copyediting I was surprised that usage books were saying it was British. At my last job at a large website, we had writers from all over the globe and almost every one of them used towards, no matter where they were from.

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