Toward or Towards | Definition, Difference & Examples

Toward and towards are prepositions that can be used to mean “in the direction of,” “in relation to,” or “in contribution to.” While the words are used interchangeably, there is some regional preference depending on whether you use US or UK English:

  • In US English, “toward” (without an “s”) is more commonly used.
  • In UK English, “towards” (with an “s”) is more commonly used.
Examples: Toward and towards in a sentence
The river runs toward/towards the sea.

Natasha has a positive attitude toward/towards life.

I didn’t realize this essay will count toward/towards my final grade.

Ronan contributed toward/towards the relief fund.

Towards is still acceptable in US English, just less common, and the same goes for toward in UK English.

However, some style guides have specific rules about which you should use. Both AP style and Chicago style favor toward (without an “s”).

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Work toward or work towards

Work toward(s) is a phrase meaning “try to achieve.” It means the same whether written with or without the “s.”

Examples: Work toward(s) in a sentence
Akira is working toward/towards becoming a principal.

To end this conflict, both parties need to come together and work toward/towards peace.

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Leaning toward or leaning towards

Leaning toward(s) is an expression meaning “inclined to one view or position rather than another.” It can be written either with or without the “s.”

Examples: Leaning toward(s) in a sentence
I’m leaning toward/towards an empathic approach instead of a direct one.

Candice is now leaning toward/towards going to Italy for her holiday.

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.