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Why do we say, "towards" Login/Join
 
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when we already have "toward"?

why not add an s to "near" and "against"? and above and beyond and ...
I

I use towards as in "I'm leaning towards Wednesday for our lunch" but I would say "Push that toward me" so I don't know.

This is forwarded from an e-mail pen pal who's a professional writer.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I have often wondered about this as well. In fact, I've wondered if "towards" is even acceptable by the peevologists.
 
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The -s comes from an adverbial suffix in Old English. It's the same -s in "he works nights" meaning "he works by night".

It's also found in once, twice, thrice, hence, since but it's spelled ce .

I don't think this answers your question.

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I tend to think toward is Standard English and towards is dialect (in the U.S.), though I think the two are used about equally. A Wordcraft search reveals that towards was used in 293 posts and toward in 226. Interestingly, 6 posts used both words. Some websites suggest that toward is more AmE and towards is more BrE. Is that true?

I think a lot of AmE dialect is Standard BrE, though I have nothing to back that up.

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quote:
Some websites suggest that toward is more AmE and towards is more BrE. Is that true?

I would say so. I think we'd be more inclined to use towards.
quote:
I use towards as in "I'm leaning towards Wednesday for our lunch" but I would say "Push that toward me"

I'd probably say "push that towards me", although that still sounds slightly "wrong"; I'd probably phrase it differently and say something like "push that to me" or "push that closer to me".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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According to MDWEU, "toward" is more common in American and "towards" is more common in British.
 
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What's funny is that my correspondent's brother is a linguist. I wonder why she didn't ask him!
http://www.indiana.edu/~hlw/author.html


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I wonder why she didn't ask him!

In my experience, folks usually don't like the answers that linguists give to these kinds of questions.

So, in Old English -weard was tacked on to prepositions and compass directions (like north) to make adjectives. As goofy said above, an -s could then be added to make the adjective into an adverb. Some of these adjectives are prepositions themselves now, but others are still adverb-verbal particle thingies. -ward is Germanic, but may be related to Latin versus 'turned, toward'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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A Wordcraft search reveals that towards was used in 293 posts and toward in 226.
Hey, Tinman, I like your investigatory attitude! Smile
 
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Originally posted by goofy:
According to MDWEU, "toward" is more common in American and "towards" is more common in British.

This can be used to demonstrate the difference between a homogeneous culture, as in Britain vs. a heterogeneous one in the US. Where we have isolated homogeneous English-speaking sub-cultures, near-Elizabethan English is used (think Appalachia).
 
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near-Elizabethan English is used (think Appalachia)

This belief is usually overstated. This short post at Language Log discusses it. For a longer discussion, see this link (PDF).)

Not sure what you mean by homogeneous culture in the UK. They have a whole bunch of minority cultures, ethnicities, and such-like. They even have some rather pronounced regional accents to reinforce these. In fact, one of our members, Bob has posted about the regional accent in his neck of the woods here on these forums: down in the linguistics threads at the bottom of the page.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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If Toqueville had been a linguist he might well have refered to the "linguistic dynamism" in the USA. As for UK homogeneity, I can understand most British English, but not any of the Gaelic-derived tongues.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I'll bet you a nickel that you can't. You only think you can because you've never heard anyone speaking in a full Black Country/ Scouse/ Cockney/ Glaswegian/ Belfast/ etc accent.
That's because we all modify our accents and speak slowly when we interact with colonials. Smile

SOme of those accents baffle me when spoken quickly.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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You only think you can because you've never heard anyone speaking in a full Black Country/ Scouse/ Cockney/ Glaswegian/ Belfast/ etc accent.

Yes, I found some varieties of UK English to be uninterpretable; two examples will suffice: Glaswegian and Tyke (or Yorkshire dialect). My wife and I have a standard joke about putting on the close captions for some British movies, so we can understand what's being said. Wink


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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