Towards is about direction. To is about location. If you fly toward the sun, you are heading in the direction of the sun (the word toward is like Northward or Southward). If you are flying to the sun, you are expecting to arrive at the location of the sun, regardless of what directions you might be taking (go towards Mercury for an hour, then turn left!); you are intending to burn up. There's not really ambiguity between the terms towards and to even in this tense where you've not arrived at the destination yet. There's zero ambiguity in other tenses (I went to the store and bought milk vs I went towards the store and ran out of gas).
I actually meant what's the between the Swedish words, cause in English the distinction only arises in cases of heightened formality for me. I'd never say towards under any normal register circumstances (for your example of running out of gas, I would naturally express that as "I was going to the store when I ran out of gas). The distinction between the two does exist for me, but is only relevant in registers where I'd use both.
But from what you dais, can I extrapolate that mot is a word about directionality and till is a word about location? Because that makes sense to me, and if so, thanks!
If the passengers on a plane are having a discussion, no matter how informal, and they say the plane is flying towards the sun, no one will think they meant they are flying to the sun and no one would say it the other way. No ambiguity.
You misunderstood what I was intending with the gas example. Kinda my fault, so I made the airplane one.
Yes, there are sentences in which it's common to use to as if it was towards (but not towards to mean to). The location/direction distinction has lessened, as it did long before with hither/here. The distinction still exists though, as I tried to show. "The clouds are coming toward us but they will disapate long before they could get here." would not confuse anyone and people would not be tempted to use to. (hither would be much simpler to use in this sentence but it went extinct). No information about the clouds' ultimate destination is contained. It's about direction, not location. You can infer things about location but that doesn't change the actual meaning of the words. You can't presume I'm planning to go to a gas station just because I say I'm going towards one.
Anyways, in Swedish the distinction did not fade. mot = toward. Useful when aimed at the sun. It contains information about direction.
No, I understood the distinction, I was just really struggling to think of a sentence where I'd naturally use the word towards. I don't know if the distinction is fading more quickly in some areas than others, but the airplane example is the only one where I'd naturally use towards (maybe the cloud one, but I feel like I'd usually say "they're heading this way")
Either way thanks, I definitely use towards sometimes, just not often, and not enough to inductively understand the difference between mot and till; regardless I think I get it now so thanks
I don't think English speakers would even guess what you meant if you said "I walk against the restaurant". You would have to say either "towards" or "in the direction of".
You can use 'against' with material objects sometimes, though. You can "lean against a wall" or "swim against a current" (physically in a river, or as a figurative saying).
I'm not sure exactly how 'mot' and 'till' work, but in English 'walk to' usually means you start fairly far away, far enough at least that you probably can't see the place yet. On the other hand, 'walk towards' usually means you go in that direction, and you can probably see the place.
"Tom parked his car across the road and walked towards the restaurant."
"It was a bright spring day, so they put on coats and walked to the restaurant."