What is the difference...

between an Introduction, a Forward, and the Preface of a book?

These three terms have become virtually interchangeable.

One can encounter all or none of these three features in any given book.

And all or none of them might be written by the author.

Traditionally, however. There has been a distinction between the introduction and the other two elements. While a preface or foreword usually tells the reader what to expect, the introduction typically starts the process of orienting the reader to the subject matter itself.

In a preface or forward, an author might explain what burst of inspiration ignited the masterpiece you are about to read He might talk about how this book should totally change your life as you know it and how, although this book will make you a perfect person, he is not legally or morally responsible for that transformation.

He will also wittily acknowledge all of the little people whom he trampled upon in order to purvey his deathless prose. In the introduction, the author dip into the actual subject matter, supplementing what is in the book and ensuring.that the reader adopts the properly respectful attitude towards his material.

Although most publishers observe the above distinction, they have varying policies about just how interchangeable the foreword and preface are. Some publishers arbitrarily title remarks by the author as the forwards and those by editors or outside endorsers as the preface.

Publishers do concur on the order in which these three elements should be placed in a book. The copyeditorís bible, Words into Type, recommends that the preface be placed after the table of contents (and after the list of illustrations, if there is one). If there are two prefaces, the editorís preface is placed before the authorís. The foreword comes next. The introduction can be part of the text; if not, it comes after the forwards.

By: David Feldman
Pages 72,73

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