southbound vs southwards

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jctgf

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hi,

do these words mean exactly the same?

I couldn't find any noticeable difference on the dictionary.

what about northbound and northwards?

do Canadians prefer the "x-bound" form?

thanks a lot,
JC
 

aggelos

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They are different.

southbound (adjective) = going towards the south
A southbound train.

southwards (adverb) = towards the south, in a southward direction
We were driving southwards.
 

BobK

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So, there is no difference in meaning.

:-D Well yes. If a railway line goes one way and then doubles back, a southbound train can be travelling, for a short time, northwards. In this case, 'southbound' means 'having a southerly destination'.

b
 
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In that case could you say that you were driving southbound on the northbound section of motorway because you missed your turning when trying to get to a destination southwards of where you started?
 

BobK

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PS
For example, the train from London to Paris is a southbound train, but it's going northwards when it leaves London St Pancras.

b
 
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Bob, at that point it would be north bound. It's physically impossible to be southbound while heading in a northerly direction.

(But we could go round in circles with this one.)
 

BobK

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Bob, at that point it would be north bound. It's physically impossible to be southbound while heading in a northerly direction.

(But we could go round in circles with this one.)

I agree about the circles ;-). In my book, and I don't think I'm alone, the term 'southbound' with reference to railways can have more of an organizational than a geographical meaning. So as the Eurostar leaves the St Pancras, a member of the public would say 'that's a northbound train', but it would be listed as 'southbound' in the time-table.

b
 

jctgf

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hi,

i think i have got the point but in the end it seems to be quite a polemical issue even for native speakers, right?

thanks a lot,
JC
 

BobK

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hi,

i think i have got the point but in the end it seems to be quite a polemical issue even for native speakers, right?

thanks a lot,
JC

I wouldn't use those words. "Polemical" suggests some level of violence, and that it's an issue worth fighting about. You're right to think there's a level of disagreement, but my objection was quite tongue-in-cheek, as was the post I was responding to. I wouldn't like you to think that this is a point that native speakers lose a lot of sleep over! ;-)

b
 

apex2000

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Perhaps a little more to help here.
You would say 'I am looking southwards' (never southbound).
Southwards is a general direction without, necessarily, any clear definition. Southbound, on the other hand, is a very clear sense of direction (even if the road meanders in other directions from time to time), that in the sense of a compass you will go south.
 

jctgf

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I wouldn't use those words. "Polemical" suggests some level of violence, and that it's an issue worth fighting about. You're right to think there's a level of disagreement, but my objection was quite tongue-in-cheek, as was the post I was responding to. I wouldn't like you to think that this is a point that native speakers lose a lot of sleep over! ;-)

b


Sorry, I didn't mean that! "Polemical" means the same as "controversial" in my native language. I though it would be the same in English.
Thanks,
JC
 

NearThere

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Am I the only one that finds this thread genuinly funny (not being vicious here). I like this thread.

But back to the original post. Being someone to whom English is a 2nd language, ambiguous differences become distinct when grammar is your primary method of learning. All we have to do is tell the teacher one is adverb and the other adjective, and percieve and use them accordingly. And that's all the difference we can spot.
 

apex2000

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Am I the only one that finds this thread genuinly funny (not being vicious here). I like this thread.

But back to the original post. Being someone to whom English is a 2nd language, ambiguous differences become distinct when grammar is your primary method of learning. All we have to do is tell the teacher one is adverb and the other adjective, and percieve and use them accordingly. And that's all the difference we can spot.

No, because it is genuinely funny to us at times when we (as English speakers) realise the many difficulties other have with matters that just come so easily to us that we never stop to think. That is good for us. Do go on enjoying anything to do with learning English; that makes it even easier.:cool:
 
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