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Old 06-22-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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Toward forward or towards forwards

I am currently reviewing some of my work and noticing that I have some excess usage of the word forward/forwards (and toward/towards etc.). But, since I'm not removing them all, I am finding myself a little confused about forward vs forwards (and similar words).

This article suggests certain historical differences in use between U.K. and U.S., but the the wording of the comparison is always "favoured" - suggesting that it is not wrong (as such) to go with either form in either context.

What I find in my own writing is that in some contexts "forward" sounds more natural than "forwards", and sometimes the reverse (and ditto words like toward/towards). As a result my writing contains a sprinkling of both forms.

Any thoughts on this? It appears that either form is acceptable, whether you are writing in British or American English, but do you consider it acceptable to mix both forms in your writing?
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #2
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I'd go with 'forward towards' myself. It reads better.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:42 PM   #3
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Provide an example sentence?
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:38 PM   #4
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"He walked toward the door."

"He walked towards the door."

---------

From this website

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com...s-towards.aspx

there is this explanation [quoted]:


"Toward" and "towards" are both correct and interchangeable: you can use either one because they mean the same thing. Many sources say the "s" is more common in Britain than in the United States, so you should take into account what the convention is in your country, and use "towards" in Britain and "toward" in the U.S.



This website

http://www.grammarly.com/answers/que...rd-or-towards/

offers a more thorough explanation.







Don

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 06-22-2013 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 06-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Choose one or the other but not both

I see your dilemma, which may be due to Australian usage which prefers the added "s" in the ratio of 10 to 1, according to the article you cite. However that same article (in the graphs) shows that dropping the "s" is clearly in the ascendancy in Britain, as it has been in the U. S. for some time. This suggests that dropping the "s" is more forward-looking, as it were, but in any event I would choose one or the other, and not use both.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Provide an example sentence?
He moved forward towards the alter.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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He moved forward towards the alter.
What does the word 'forward' add to that sentence? Would we assume he walked backwards if it wasn't there? To me it's an unnecessary word and looks clumsy.

(And I think it's 'altar', btw).
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:58 PM   #8
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What does the word 'forward' add to that sentence? Would we assume he walked backwards if it wasn't there? To me it's an unnecessary word and looks clumsy.

(And I think it's 'altar', btw).
Oops. You're right. I got tripped up by one of the words that has different spelling but sounds the same. Alter and altar.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
What does the word 'forward' add to that sentence? Would we assume he walked backwards if it wasn't there? To me it's an unnecessary word and looks clumsy.

(And I think it's 'altar', btw).
That is kind of what I was thinking. I could not come up with a good use case to use forward and toward together with nothing between them. Hence why I asked for an example.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #10
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I shouldn't start threads at 2:30am, I can see that I left things a little unclear. My main concern is about mixing the forms - using both forward and forwards in my text (and various other *ward/s combinations), I wasn't really talking about placing towards and forwards together (in fact the example given by crich70 shows pretty much the sort of thing that I've needed to correct - there is no need to say he went forwards to the front).

This sentence: "I look forward to meeting her."
sounds better to me than: "I look forwards to meeting her."

But this: "Moving forwards was easier."
sounds better to me than: "Moving forward was easier."

Though to my ear that second example is less definite, and seems context sensitive (what sounds better to me depends on what was around it). Searching through my text I can see that I use forward much more than forwards, despite the text being otherwise British English. I appear to be less definite with toward vs towards.

Here is a curious fragment from one of my chapters that shows my inconsistency with toward/towards: "The four of them were swept helplessly towards the gaping holes. His friends were being dragged inexorably toward one of the holes, but John could feel himself being caught by a current that tried to pull him toward the other."

Obviously the fragment needs work, but as you can see it was written with one "towards" and two "toward". I couldn't tell you why it came out this way, and I can happily accept replacing "toward" with "towards" or vise-versa in this case. I was more curious about whether mixing the forms would be considered an error, or in poor style.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:48 PM   #11
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I"The four of them were swept helplessly towards the gaping holes. His friends were being dragged inexorably toward one of the holes, but John could feel himself being caught by a current that tried to pull him toward the other."
I would use "toward" in both of those. I think which ever you pick you should be consistent.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
He moved forward towards the alter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
What does the word 'forward' add to that sentence? Would we assume he walked backwards if it wasn't there? To me it's an unnecessary word and looks clumsy.

(And I think it's 'altar', btw).
Together you present an interesting example. What if for some reason it really was one of:

1) "He stepped backwards towards the altar."
2) "He stepped backward toward the altar."
3) "He stepped backwards toward the altar."
4) "He stepped backward towards the altar."

Would a rule of consistency cut out options 3 and 4? I quite like 3.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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My view is what the good Dr mentioned, the "s" is not often seen in American English. It sounds incorrect to my ear.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:40 AM   #14
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I see your dilemma, which may be due to Australian usage which prefers the added "s" in the ratio of 10 to 1, according to the article you cite. However that same article (in the graphs) shows that dropping the "s" is clearly in the ascendancy in Britain, as it has been in the U. S. for some time. This suggests that dropping the "s" is more forward-looking, as it were, but in any event I would choose one or the other, and not use both.
Australia draws influences from both Britain and America, which can make for some confusion. My work in software development tends to side with American influences because the preponderance of interfaces use words like "color" and "initialize" and similar (misspellings ). In my writing I usually to side with British influences ... and yet with forward/forwards I find myself preferring to drop the "s" in most situations.

I am inclined to use your reasoning that dropping the "s" is in ascendancy in Britain as a reason to follow my existing preferences, and in those few places where the lack of "s" sounds awkward to my ear I'll rephrase to avoid it.

I think the advice to be consistent is probably good - that way I'll only be offending one set of readers and not all.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:25 AM   #15
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I shouldn't start threads at 2:30am, I can see that I left things a little unclear. My main concern is about mixing the forms - using both forward and forwards in my text (and various other *ward/s combinations), I wasn't really talking about placing towards and forwards together (in fact the example given by crich70 shows pretty much the sort of thing that I've needed to correct - there is no need to say he went forwards to the front).

This sentence: "I look forward to meeting her."
sounds better to me than: "I look forwards to meeting her."

But this: "Moving forwards was easier."
sounds better to me than: "Moving forward was easier."
In American English:

First of all, although toward and towards are identical words in sense of meaning, forward and forwards are not -- they can have different meanings and different purposes.

Second, toward does not need forward unless direction is necessary. If you need to ensure that the reader understands that the actor is moving forward and not backward, then "forward toward" is OK. Generally, however, forward is inferred and most readers would find forward toward awkward.

Third, forwards has the sense of sending forth, and is not truly a directional usage. Thus "Jim forwards the package to Bill" and not "Jim forward the package to Bill". In your sentence "I look forward to meeting her," you are using forward as a substitute for something like "with great anticipation" or "am excited" (yes, to use the alternate phrases you would have to rewrite the sentence, not just substitute); you are not using forward in the sense of "sending something forth".

Finally, in AmE the preference is toward and forward, but backwards. Also, in AmE, these words can be either adverbs or adjectives.

In contrast, in British English, the preference is towards and forwards when using these terms in the directional sense. In BrE, these words can only be adverbs.
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