Chomiji (chomiji) wrote in fandom_grammar,
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Answer: Does Forward/Forwards Work Like Toward/Towards?

midnitemaraud_r asked us, "Does forward/forwards work the same way as toward/towards?"

Let's take a look, with help from the cast of the movie The Princess Bride.


In fact, our correspondent is correct! As grammarian mendax noted in 2008:

From a definition standpoint, there is no difference between “toward” and “towards.” The only real distinction is that American English users tend to go with “toward” while British English favors “towards.”

The same is true of forward and forwards. The consensus among grammarians today is that there is no functional difference between the two words, although many of them note that forwards seems to be a more formal usage, a British usage, or both:

"I see that you're still moving forwards," said Vizzini to the Man in Black, and he gestured threateningly at Buttercup with his blade. "Halt right there!"

Forward, on the other hand, is considered more casual and is also the norm in the United States:

"Yeah, we're all set: we got the wheelbarrow and the holocaust cloak," said Fezzik cheerfully. "Now, we can move forward!"

In fact, some authorities believe that forwards is becoming outdated, except in specific uses such as forwards and backwards. Even the Oxford Dictionary gives it as a secondary form for forward.

Finally, one should never use forward to mean the introductory material at the beginning of a book. That is another word entirely — foreword:

"Hmmm," said the grandfather. "Looks like this book has a foreword."

"What's that?"

"It's where the author explains about why he wrote this story."

"Oh. Boring. Can't we skip that?"

"As you wish," said the old man, and flipped pages until he got to the first chapter: "The Princess Bride, by S. Morgenstern. Chapter One ... ."
Tags: !answer, author:chomiji, usage:non-american, word choice:similar words, word choice:subtleties
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