How to use toward

new_boy   Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:48 am GMT

I would like to know how to use the word 'toward' in a sentence. In what condition do we use that word?

The only way I know is "....toward the end of WW II...". Is it a preposition or what?

Aquatar   Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:07 pm GMT
Yes, usually it implies going in the direction of something or getting nearer to something i.e. he walked towards the house (he walked in the direction of the house and therefore got progressively nearer to it).

In the example above, it means near the end of WW II.

Also note that in British English we tend to say 'towards', whereas I have heard both 'toward' and 'towards' from the Americans.
Liz   Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:16 pm GMT

Yes, it is a preposition. It has another form: towards (I use it more often than 'toward', but it's just my idiolect.)

It can be used in several ways, for example:

- your example 'toward the end of WW II' (meaning at or just before a particular time)
- it can express a direction (He saw an enormous dog coming towards him.)
- a process of producing some kind of result (These negotiations were the first step towards reaching an agreement.)
- used for expressing a certain kind of attitude/feeling (be sympathetic towards sy etc.)
Liz   Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:22 pm GMT
<<Also note that in British English we tend to say 'towards', whereas I have heard both 'toward' and 'towards' from the Americans.>>

Aquatar, I didn't see your post because we presumably posted at roughly the same time. I entirely agree with you on your comment I quote above. I forgot to mention it, but I've noticed the same.
Robin   Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:31 pm GMT
To answer the question, it can be used as a preposition or as an adjective.

to·ward (tôrd, tōrd, tə-wôrd')

prep. also to·wards (tôrdz, tōrdz, tə-wôrdz')

In the direction of: driving toward home.

In a position facing: had his back toward me.

Somewhat before in time: It began to rain toward morning.

With regard to; in relation to: an optimistic attitude toward the future.

In furtherance or partial fulfillment of: contributed five dollars toward the bill.

By way of achieving; with a view to: efforts toward peace.

adj. (tôrd, tōrd)

1 Favoring success or a good outcome; propitious.
2 often towards Happening soon; imminent.
Robin   Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:45 pm GMT

USAGE NOTE Some critics have tried to discern a semantic distinction between toward and towards, but the difference is entirely dialectal. Toward is more common in American English; towards is the predominant form in British English.
Tiffany   Thu Sep 07, 2006 5:31 pm GMT
I use both "toward" and "towards" indiscriminately. I wouldn't say one was more common than the other, but I'll take the dictionary's word for it.
new_boy   Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:08 am GMT
Thanks for the information, especially the website you have shown to me.