Toward vs Afterward - What's the difference?

toward | afterward |

As a preposition toward

is in the direction of.

As an adjective toward

is (obsolete) future; to come.

As an adverb afterward is

(us) subsequently to some other action.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en-prep) (mainly in American English)
  • In the direction of.
  • :
  • *(Bible), (w) xxiv. 1
  • *:He set his face toward the wilderness.
  • *
  • *:Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  • In relation to (someone or something).
  • :
  • *(Bible), (w)
  • *:His eye shall be evil toward his brother.
  • For the purpose of attaining (an aim).
  • :
  • Located close to; near (a time or place).
  • :
  • *(Jonathan Swift) (1667–1745)
  • *:I am toward nine years older since I left you.
  • Synonyms

    * towards

    Usage notes

    * Although some have tried to discern a semantic distinction between the words (term) and (towards), the difference is merely dialectal. (term) is more common in American English and (towards) is the predominant form in British English.


  • (obsolete) Future; to come.
  • * 1590 , Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene , II.iv:
  • ere that wished day his beame disclosd, / He either enuying my toward good, / Or of himselfe to treason ill disposd / One day vnto me came in friendly mood [...].
  • (dated) Approaching, coming near; impending; present, at hand.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward ?
  • * 1843 , '', book 2, ch. XV, ''Practical — Devotional
  • On the morrow […] orders the Cellerarius to send off his carpenters to demolish the said structure brevi manu , and lay up the wood in safe keeping. Old Dean Herbert, hearing what was toward , comes tottering along hither, to plead humbly for himself and his mill.
  • Yielding, pliant; docile; ready or apt to learn; not froward.
  • (obsolete, or, archaic) Promising, likely; froward.
  • Why, that is spoken like a toward prince. ? Shakespeare.


    * American English




  • (US) subsequently to some other action
  • Derived terms

    * afterwardness


    * (Commonwealth English ) afterwards


    * beforehand

    See also

    * afterword