The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

questions about the usage of "toward" Options
robjen
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:49:29 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/2015
Posts: 487
Neurons: 2,750
I have copied and pasted the definitions of "toward" from www.thefreedictionary.com below.

1. In the direction of:
2. In a position facing:
3. Somewhat before in time:
4. With regard to; in relation to:
5. In furtherance or partial fulfillment of:
6. By way of achieving;




Next, I will use Definitions (1) to (3) to create sentences.

(A) John walked two blocks toward ABC Store.

(B) John is six blocks toward ABC Store.

(C) For ten minutes toward the end of class, the teacher talked about today's weather.

(D) Twenty minutes toward the end of today's lesson, the teacher let his pupils leave.



I am using Definition (1) for (A), (2) for (B), and (3) for (C) & (D).

Are my sentences correct? Thanks a lot.
NKM
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 3:20:36 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 4,491
Neurons: 228,934
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Sentence (A) is fine.

Sentence (B) makes no sense at all.

Sentence (C) needs a comma after "ten minutes": "For ten minutes, toward the end of class, the teacher talked about today's weather."
(That ten-minute period started "somewhat before" the end of class — probably somewhat more than 10 minutes before the end.)

Sentence (D) doesn't work.



Don't over-generalize! Each of those "extra" definitions is applicable only in certain situations or only for some special applications.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 4:57:35 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 28,840
Neurons: 164,997
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi robjen!
Before I start answering, just a note that I naturally use "towards" rather than "toward". I'll try to type 'toward' - but I may forget occasionally. Don't worry. They mean the same and are used in exactly the same ways.

All of these words with "--wards", they just mean "in the direction --" (northwards, backwards, upwards, downwards and so on). "Towards", "forwards" and "backwards" can also be figurative - relating to some sort of 'target' or 'purpose' rather than a place or time.

Those definitions (without any 'example sentences') are possibly a little misleading. Some of them I don't understand myself, immediately. I'll have to figure out what the dictionary means.

Here are some examples for each:
1. (You have this one)
I'm on the motorway, heading toward London.
She reached toward the door, just as it opened.


2. This one NEEDs examples - it is really just a different usage of "in the direction of". In some dictionaries, it is not a separate definition. In other dictionaries it is "definition 1a" - a sub-definition)
Set the speakers up facing toward the audience. ('toward' is virtually redundant in this sentence)
He likes to sit with his back towards the wall, facing the door. ("To" is often used in this sort of sentence, instead of "towards".)

3. This includes the idea of "a bit of time", so it is not used in the same clause as any time-period measurement, really. It is used with a point in time.
Toward 3am, even regular night-workers become less active.
Toward the Autumn, the leaves start to change colour.


The others are actually rather similar to each other, but the definitions you gave are quite clear (one could replace the word with the definition, almost)
4. His attitude towards money was "If I have it, good. If I don't, I'll survive."
His feelings towards her were obvious from the way he looked at her.


5. She was saving money toward buying her wedding dress.
He contributed a whole pig toward the barbecue supplies.

6. They are working toward full independence.
He's pushing toward becoming President in 2025.

(5 & 6 are very similar. #5 is just a little more 'concrete' than #6.
'Money' and 'food' are more solid than 'work' and 'effort' but the concept is the same. To me, they are really different uses of the same meaning)




Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 5:29:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 41,436
Neurons: 376,273
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
I'm always looking forward to see Drag0n's informative answers ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
NKM
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 5:43:51 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 4,491
Neurons: 228,934
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Before I start answering, just a note that I naturally use "towards" rather than "toward". I'll try to type 'toward' - but I may forget occasionally. Don't worry. They mean the same and are used in exactly the same ways.

All of these words with "--wards", they just mean "in the direction --" (northwards, backwards, upwards, downwards and so on). "Towards", "forwards" and "backwards" can also be figurative - relating to some sort of 'target' or 'purpose' rather than a place or time.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Just another note: It seems to me that American English tends to favor the forms without that final -s, though "towards" may be nearly as common as "toward".

Of course there are exceptions, especially in some idiomatic expressions.
 "He's an expert. He knows that stuff backwards and forwards."
 "That guitar sells for upwards of $2,000."


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2018 1:59:55 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 28,840
Neurons: 164,997
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I didn't know of those exceptions.

It's notable that the Collins English Dictionary has definitions of "towards" and just a note under "toward" that it's an alternative spelling, while the American Heritage and Webster's have "toward" with a note of "towards" as an alternative.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2018 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.