Onwards or Onward – What’s the Correct Usage?
The English language can be quite complex, and some words have variations in spelling or application that can be confusing to even native speakers. One such example is the usage of the words ‘onwards’ and ‘onward.’
Onwards and onward are both adverbs that connote movement in a particular direction. But when it comes to proper usage, they are not interchangeable, and a distinction is necessary.
Onwards is the plural form of onward. It’s a variant spelling of the word and is commonly used in American English. The term is defined as ‘in a continuous direction forward from a starting point, or from where something is at the moment, that increases or continues a movement or activity.’
Here are a few examples of how to use onwards in a sentence:
• We marched onwards through the forest until we reached the river.
• The team will continue their journey onwards to the next city.
• He persevered onwards despite the harsh criticism.
Onward is the correct spelling of the word, and it is commonly used in British English. The term is defined as ‘moving forward or ahead in a particular direction, or continuously making progress towards goals or objectives.’
Here are some examples of how to use onward in a sentence:
• I have a long journey onward to the city center.
• She progressed onwards in her career and achieved great success.
• We can’t let failure hold us back; we must move onwards.
Difference between Onwards and Onward
The primary difference between these two words is in their usage.
Onwards is used when referring to movement ‘in a continuous direction forward from a starting point,’ or ‘from where something is at the moment, continuing a movement or activity.’
Onward, on the other hand, is used to denote moving ‘forward or ahead in a particular direction’ or continuously ‘making progress towards goals or objectives.’
As an example, you can say, “We continued onwards towards the city,” but not “We continued onward towards the city,” because ‘towards’ indicates a particular direction, which requires the usage of ‘onward’ rather than ‘onwards.’
Similarly, you can say, “She progressed onwards in her career,” but not “She progressed onward in her career” because the word ‘progressed’ indicates continuous movement, which requires the usage of ‘onwards.’
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In summary, the words ‘onwards’ and ‘onward’ are both adverbs that convey a sense of movement in a particular direction. Onwards is used when referring to continuous movement, while onward is used in situations of moving forward or making progress.
As a writer, it’s essential to use the correct spelling and make the correct choice of word to avoid any ambiguity or miscommunication in your writing. And now that you know the difference between the two, you can confidently apply the correct usage of onwards or onward in your writing.