upward, upwards, upwards of

Upward can be an adjective or an adverb, while upwards is always an adverb.

  • The upward force of the water was so strong that the kayak appeared to skim the surface.
  • Hikers in the Rockies find that the trees are shorter as they climb upward (or upwards).

The phrase upwards of is an informal expression meaning “at least” or “more than.”

  • Informal: The Department will invest upwards of $6 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Standard: The Department will invest at least $6 billion over the next 10 years.

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