The Pesky “S”

Toward%2FTowardsA reader has asked me to clarify use of toward/towards and regard/regards. Here are her examples:

…is inflated and anticipates only minimal settlement contributions towards resolving … /… In regards to his injuries …./ … any update with regards to the motion?

According to the Gregg Reference Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style, in the case of toward/towards, both are correct, but toward is the more common usage in the U.S. However, British English uses towards. The general rule is the same for other directional words like forward, backward,upward, and downward, along with afterward. While it isn’t incorrect, if you are in the U.S., leave the “s” off.

As regards regard or regards, the word regards (a) is used as a way to introduce a topic, such as I did at the beginning of this sentence, and (b) means good wishes expressing respect, affection, or condolences, as in “She wanted to give him her regards at the wedding.” It is not a word that can be interchanged with regard. So when you want to say in regard to or with regard to, there is no “s.” It may be easier to reword the sentence rather than argue over whether regard or regards is correct. You can say “This email is in regard to your voice mail.” or you can say “This email concerns your voice mail.” The second choice is a little more clear and solves the regard/regards problem.


I hope that clears up this issue. Bottom line, unless you are outside the United States or giving someone good wishes, leave the “s” off each word.

Grammar Giggle – The Chef’s What?

I caught this the other day while looking for something to watch on TV. OK, there are multiple issues with this one. They are talking about two “chefs” which requires only an “s” to make it plural (more than one). Then, they pulled of my absolute pet peeve and used an apostrophe to make a word plural–but even then, since they are talking about two chefs, if the apostrophe were appropriate, it would be AFTER the “s.” But regardless of all of that, the apostrophe is NOT appropriate. The apostrophe would be used to show possession. There is nothing in that sentence about possession of anything. The chefs certainly could not own “compete.”


Grammar Giggles – She Was Found Where?

While the subject of this story is not in the least bit funny and I don’t intend to poke fun at a murder, I am quickly losing any respect for our news agencies. I appreciate that they are all trying to get the news out first, but they really should take the time to actually read what they’re putting out there. While the headline leads you to believe the woman’s body was in a truck, the story confuses that issue by saying she was in the “truck of a vehicle.” On the plus side, at least they were consistent.

truck of a car


Grammar Giggle – A Perfect Compliment And Complement to Valentine’s Day

While I have the utmost respect for our clerk of the court being open on a weekend to issue marriage licenses and then our court being open in order to perform marriage ceremonies on Valentine’s Day (which was a Sunday this year), this court announcement caught my eye while I was looking for something else:


At first glance, it brought out the “ah, isn’t that sweet” in me, but the first sentence of the second paragraph had me gagging on my coffee. According to, “compliment” is an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration, for example “She paid me an enormous compliment on my dress,” while “complement” is something that completes or makes perfect, for example “A good wine is a complement to a good meal.” So you can see that the fact that the court was offering free weddings was a COMPLEMENT to the issuance of marriage licenses. It completed and made perfect the whole Valentine’s Day wedding theme they had going on. One way to remember the difference would be that a complIment is something I like to hear, while a COMPLEment COMPLEtes something. I hope they were complimented on their thoughtfulness in being open on a weekend to do this for couples who wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the ultimate fashion, but I also hope they learn the difference between “compliment” and “complement.”

Grammar Giggle – Statues

i was looking up information about payroll reports when I came across this error which jumped out at me. It is proof that you can’t trust spell check. Both words are spelled correctly. I have trouble with “statues” instead of “statutes” sometimes too, but I check to make sure I have them right. And I’m not a government entity directing the public to the actual statute!


Grammar Giggle – News Is Hard

My favorite source of Grammar Giggles (my local news station) had a pretty difficult time of it the other night. Three Grammar Giggles in one news story!

The first picture had me looking twice. I didn’t think her name was Steven, but the banner covered her actual nameplate and I just wasn’t sure:


Then they went to the next person:

IMG_2719-1This still could be a name issue, except now I can see the nameplate. OK, so they got the names mixed up. But then


It was a story about the Litchfield Park School District, which they got right in one place, but one would think that the name of the street in LITCHFIELD Park would be LITCHFIELD (which it is).

Three strikes, you’re out!