Grammar Hammer: Don’t Go Toward/Towards the Light!

It’s August, so no matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s safe to assume you’ve probably been encountering a lot of creepy crawlers recently.

Fun fact: It turns out that some flying insects actually move towards a light — even though it ends up zapping them to death — because they use the sun and moon to navigate their courses. Insects that are attracted to light include moths, flies, crane flies, mayflies, beetles and more, according to About.com. They don’t realize that your porch light is actually leading them toward a buggy death trap!

This bring us to our short grammar discussion today: When do we use towards vs. toward?

Main Rule: Toward and towards can be used interchangeably.

Either word is correct, although North American English speakers tend to prefer toward, while other English speakers (specifically British) tend to prefer towards, according to Grammarist.

Examples:

  • “No, don’t go towards the light!” the caterpillar screamed to the moth. But it was too late.
  • The beetle seemed hypnotized as it moved toward the light bulb, ending with a pop and sizzle.

Stop the bug annihilation — turn your lights out!

Written by Grace Lavigne, senior editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. Grammar Hammer is published weekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Grace, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

3 responses to “Grammar Hammer: Don’t Go Toward/Towards the Light!

  1. Under your “main rule” you have the same word written twice.

  2. What about affect and effect. That one always gets me.

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