Welcome to the second week of Grammer Is Sexy Saturday. I'll share a helpful writing tip every weekend, so be sure to come back and visit. Better yet, "follow" me by clicking the button on the left side of the top toolbar.
As a writer who has done a massive amount of editing/beta reading, I've frequently encountered the "naughty s" problem. I'm here to solve it once and for all! You're welcome.
Toward versus Towards
If you are a writer in the US, use toward. No s. The other version--towards--is for our lovely British writers.
Backward versus Backwards
Britain- backwards, unless being used as an adjective. Then, you drop the s.
Simple, right? American writers always leave the "s" off toward and backward. There's no guess work; the S is always naughty.
NOTE: There are some mixed opinions on this rule. Some say adding the s is fine, others disagree. All concur that toward/backward without the s is correct, which is why I suggest going with the version(s) always considered proper rather than submitting a towards/backwards riddled manuscript that might irritate a finicky editor.