What is the correct spelling of towards

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towards the dark forest

If a noun is followed by a directly related expression, it is called an apposition. The fact that the grammatically correct handling of such appositions is sometimes not that easy is impressively demonstrated by our latest "Inquired" gnarly.

In the case of directions, the more detailed definition of "direction" can, as far as I know, be appended with genitive or without an article as an apposition: towards the forest or towards the forest.

But what about the inflection if - without an article - an adjective is added? Does it correctly say: "We are going towards the dark forest"; or: "We're going in the direction of the dark forest" - or even: "We're going in the direction of the dark forest"?
Julian von Heyl ,korkturen.de

The Duden grammar states as a basic rule that for appositions with an adjective but without an article word, both congruence and the nominative are correct. In both cases the adjective is strongly inflected.

The form "We are going in the direction of the dark forest" is initially correct, and the nominative is clearly preferred in comparable cases, according to the evidence in the Duden corpus.

When applying the rule of congruence (the apposition shows the same case as the reference word) one must first answer the question in which case »direction« stands here, because the preposition »in« can be used with dative or accusative depending on the context. According to Duden Volume 9, "Correct and Good German", one should distinguish whether the path is still to be taken (directional information and therefore accusative) or whether one is already on the path (location and therefore dative). Accordingly, on the one hand, "We are going towards the dark forest at the next intersection", on the other hand "We have been walking in the direction of the dark forest for half an hour" would be correctly formed sentences. The Duden has, however, taken a step backwards with the formulation "it usually means", describing it rather than being razor-sharp.
Dr. Werner Scholze-Stubenrecht, head of the Duden editorial team

Julian von Heyl on May 29th, 2014 | Comments (2) | Visits: 10035

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1 Anne

Thank you for the comments, Mr. Scholze-Stubenrecht!
I only have one question: Couldn't the genitive also be used here ("in the direction of the dark forest")?
The choice of the genitive does not seem completely absurd to me, because in the online edition of the Dudens under "Direction" the following is stated: "towards [...] of the village"(As of June 18, 2019).
Greetings, have a nice day!

Written by Anne on 6/18/19 11:44 AM

2 Julian von Heyl

Of course, "in the direction of the dark forest" is also correct, but it does not correspond to the question about the correct form without "the".

Written by Julian von Heyl on 6/18/19 12:57 PM

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