Toward(s), backward(s), forward(s)


Toward vs. towards
Backward vs. backwards
Forward vs. forwards

  1. Is it just a point of personal preference? Which form do you prefer?

  2. Is there any difference in ‘formality’? (It seems to me that forwards is used in a bit more formal way than ‘forward’. Not?)

  3. Could you say something about -ward?

Hi Tamara,

The endings ward or wards suggest movement in a particular direction. The general rule or perhaps pattern is a better word is that ward is used in the adjective function wards in the adverb function. In this way it is a backward glance but glance backwards. In my experience the only one that bucks the trend is toward(s). To my ear the use of toward for both adjective and adverb is quaint and oldfashioned as in: his attitude toward her or he walked toward her.

Having said all that I find that various corpora of word use show high percentages for both uses throughout the English speaking world. Sorry, on reflection I haven’t been very enlightening but that’s all I can say.


Yes, Alan, that’s right….and I am trying to get some clue for sure use…

But what about the prefix fore- instead of for-? Is it just an elder form?

P.S. By the way, my electronic Oxford dictionary gave for corpora (corpus) the main (Latin) example of use : corpus delicti. :slight_smile: :smiley:
Definitely, today is a ‘criminal’ day for me… :slight_smile: