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What’s the Difference Between a Foreword, Preface, and Introduction?

  
  
Avoid false starts

As a non-fiction editor for close to thirty years, I have helped many an author meet the challenge of establishing a clear, comfortable entry into their book – comfortable for themselves as well as their readers.

Whether writers compose the introductory elements of their book at the beginning of their project or at the end, once they’ve completed the body of the book, their beginning pages often read to me as if they’re taking several runs at introducing their topic.

I’ve found that this is partly the result of confusion over the difference between a foreword, preface, and introduction.

Different publishers and editors may define these elements of the front end of books differently, but here are some definitions and descriptions – supported by the dictionary and the august Chicago Manual of Style and proven to be helpful in my work as an editor and publisher ­– that my authors have found of assistance.

THE FOREWORD

A foreword (one of the most often misspelled words in the language) is most often written by someone other than the author: an expert in the field, a writer of a similar book, etc. Forewords help the publisher at the level of marketing: An opening statement by an eminent and well-published author gives them added credibility in pitching the book to bookstores. Forewords help the author by putting a stamp of approval on their work.

THE PREFACE

A preface is best understood, I believe, as standing outside the book proper and being about the book. In a preface an author explains briefly why they wrote the book, or how they came to write it. They also often use the preface to establish their credibility, indicating their experience in the topic or their professional suitability to address such a topic. Sometimes they acknowledge those who inspired them or helped them (though these are often put into a separate Acknowledgments section). Using an old term from the study of rhetoric, a preface is in a sense an “apology”: an explanation or defense.

THE INTRODUCTION

If a preface is about the book as a book, the introduction is about the content of the book. Sometimes it is as simple as that: It introduces what is covered in the book. Other times it introduces by setting the overall themes of the book, or by establishing definitions and methodology that will be used throughout the book. Scholarly writers sometimes use the introduction to tell their profession how the book should be viewed academically (that is, they position the book as a particular approach within a discipline or part of a discipline). This latter material is appropriate for a preface, as well. The point is that it should appear in the preface or the introduction, not both.

I helped authors with the front end of their books in two recent cases by refining for them the differences between these rubrics of foreword, preface, and introduction. Because these books were very practical books, I also introduced the rubric of “How to Use This Book.”

Not only did these authors take several stabs at describing their book’s contents via their preface and introduction, they actually tried one more time in their first chapter.

In both cases I set up three rubrics for the front end of the book: Preface, How to Use This Book, and Introduction. I then put like with like. I sorted out the various descriptions of why the book had been written and placing them under the heading “Preface.” I found sentences that dealt with the use of the book and placed them under the heading of “How to Use This Book.” I took the various explanations of what the reader was going to read and placed them under the heading of “Introduction.” I also, in one case, deleted the repeated material in the first chapter, and in the other case, moved the repeated material from the first chapter to the Introduction, replacing a less-well-stated introductory comment there.

In both instances the authors felt that I had waved a magic wand over the material. They felt a sense of satisfaction, knowing that their manuscripts now clearly explained to the reader why they wrote their book, how it was to be used, and the details of what it covered.

What about you and your manuscript? I believe the above definitions and distinctions may alleviate the anxiety you likely feel as a writer. You are anxious to be clear, you want to feel justified in addressing readers with your content, you want to establish your credibility, and you want to set the parameters of your time together. Keep in mind that your anxiety may be what is causing your own confusion at the beginning of a book. If unaddressed, it will cause confusion in your readers.

So just calm down and sort through your material as described above. You may be surprised to find that the exercise does something else for you, revealing a better way for you to construct, or reconstruct, the rest of your manuscript!

DB

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Comments

What an amazing site! I read every article in one sitting. Thank you!
Posted @ Friday, April 30, 2010 9:54 AM by Mary Moore
Thanks Donald!  
 
You really cleared this up for me :) 
 
Regards, 
 
Darren. 
 
London, England.
Posted @ Monday, October 04, 2010 9:28 AM by Darren
And then of course, you get a directory or something for which you have to write both a Preface and Introduction, and then a "letter from the President" on top of that. Then you tear your hair out all over again. :-)
Posted @ Wednesday, December 01, 2010 9:52 AM by Phyl
Would someone be able to help me work out exactly how to or what to include in an acknowledgment.. is there a specific way you need to write this in a non fiction book? 
 
cheers
Posted @ Monday, January 31, 2011 9:09 PM by Caz
Apologies for the delay responding folks -- we had a technical hitch that meant our email notification system went down. I'm glad this was helpful!  
 
@Caz, watch this space for a post on acknowledgments. 
 
DB
Posted @ Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:59 AM by Donald Bastian
@Caz, as promised, here's that post on how to write an acknowledgments section: <a>http://www.bpsbooks.com/BPS-Books-blog/bid/54845/How-to-Write-an-Acknowledgments-Section-5-Quick-Pointers
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 11:21 AM by Donald Bastian
I ran across your blog tonight and I have to tell you I really enjoyed what I've read so far. 
 
I can't say I have any interest in writing a book, but I have always been interested in the "behind the scenes" of how they are published. 
 
I love to write, although I cannot say I have ever made it much of a habit. 
 
I simply have dreams about what writing books might be like as silly as it sounds. 
 
Your blog is like a wonderland of information. It's really interesting and I look forward to reading more of it. 
 
Thank you for sharing this post especially. I've always been curious about the differences between Forewords, Prefaces, and Introductions - They always seem so different in the books I've read that I had a hard time nailing down their formulas. :)
Posted @ Saturday, July 23, 2011 3:23 AM by Her Daughter
Thank you for these definitions and case stories. They were very helpful. 
 
Vancouver, BC
Posted @ Thursday, August 25, 2011 1:08 AM by Elizabeth
Hi Elizabeth,  
 
I'm glad you found this helpful! Feel free to send us any other suggestions re posts you'd find helpful. We'll add them to our list! 
 
DB
Posted @ Thursday, August 25, 2011 2:28 PM by Donald Bastian
thank you so much. got what i was looking for
Posted @ Thursday, September 29, 2011 7:28 AM by sudha
Well described, thanks. 
How would you fit a prologue into the mix?
Posted @ Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:43 AM by Ian Blair
Thanks! I needed that. I'm working on and finishing a book (this year) on Blood-Covenant (those in scripture between God and man). Since I'm nobody from nowhere, and had most of my theological training OJT, I'm not sure where to find a good editor to assist. By the way how much do editors charge?  
 
...john 
Posted @ Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:08 PM by Rev John Horton
DB, 
 
Thanks from me as well. The clear explanation of the differences/purpose of preface, foreword, and intro were all very helpful. And timely, as I am close to finishing a book on a somewhat arcane topic in computer science. We have the technical material well in hand, but these other bits were causing us some confusion.  
 
Thanks again! 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:22 PM by WB
Third paragraph after "THE INTRODUCTION" has a repeated word... "these". 
Great information though, Thanks!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:16 PM by Tom Walker
Thanks for your comment @John -- glad you found this piece helpful! As for editors, costs can vary. Feel free to contact me with more info. about your project (page count/nature of the work) if you'd like me to email you with a quote. DB
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 5:43 PM by Donald Bastian
@WB & @Tom, Glad you both found it useful! Good spot Tom. Thanks!
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 5:45 PM by Donald Bastian
reaaly awesome ........ it was very helpful me at the time of preaparation of my new book
Posted @ Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:18 PM by atul
What goes into Preface, Foreword and Introduction, is clear now. Thanks Donald! 
Where do you fit in the book a ' Message from the VIP'who releases the book'.  
Looking forward to your response.
Posted @ Thursday, April 12, 2012 5:23 AM by Shashi kohli
@atul Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad to have helped. 
 
@Shashi I'm not sure what you mean by "message from the VIP who releases the book". Please explain further.
Posted @ Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:14 AM by Donald Bastian
Donald, you need an editor. 
 
 
 
Your grammar is very disappointing and it is hard to imagine you as an editor. "An author" should not be followed by "their." You should be following the standard that is STILL being enforced by every university in the country instead of caving to the worst possible habits of the least educated among us. Also, "authors" don't write "their book." Authors write their books. Your possessive plurals are also incorrect. You write: "their book’s contents." This should be their books' contents. 
 
 
 
Tell the truth. You were never an editor, were you?
Posted @ Monday, April 23, 2012 8:26 AM by Zack
Greetings, Zack: 
 
Yes, I wince when I use "their" to refer to a singular noun; I have joined this now common practice quite reluctantly. Using "their" is better, I think, than "his/her" or "his or her" -- and certainly than using the masculine singular, "his," no matter what; that just wouldn't fly nowadays.  
 
Since I was using "their" to indicate individual authors, I certainly wouldn't say "books"'; I was talking about a book written by each author. You wouldn't say of a group of people that they shouldn't lose their heads, since, presumably, each person has only one.  
 
Finally, I'm not sure how you are able to know about anything every university might be doing, much less holding ground on a particular grammatical rule. I wish you were right, though. DB
Posted @ Monday, April 23, 2012 1:30 PM by Donald Bastian
Hello Donald, I am writing a report that has a; Preface? Foreword? That is simply a quote from a highly respected politician. The quote essentially sums up the predicament our community is in, and lends power to our desired outcomes. But is it a preface or foreword? The politician did not write it specifically for my report, and I did not write it. The quote has more power without any other input from me on that page. Your help would be appreciated.
Posted @ Friday, May 18, 2012 6:40 PM by Michael
Hello, Michael– 
 
Thank you so much for your comment. I believe what you are describing is what is often called a frontispiece. Many books have a quote like this early in the opening pages. You do not need to call it anything. Just put it on a page of its own, perhaps dressing it up a bit typographically (but not too much). This sort of thing can be very elegant and pointed at the same time. Good luck! 
 
DB
Posted @ Tuesday, May 22, 2012 12:01 PM by Donald Bastian
For a self-professed editor, it is odd that you write without bothering to edit your own writing. Italicize titles of books. Use actual em dashes instead of en dashes. These criticisms come from only 20 seconds of looking at your prose, but there are others.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:33 PM by AB
Thank you AB. We did find a couple of book titles that should have been italicized. These have been fixed. As for the en dash/em dash point, this is a style decision. En dashes are not incorrect. DB
Posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 4:10 PM by Donald Bastian
Thanks Donald - I was struggling to explain to a would-be writer why introduction was more suited to the long article he was writing - then sent him the differences in your article - thanks he then saw the wisdom of that - IRA  
Posted @ Sunday, July 08, 2012 3:13 AM by irina
Thanks @Irina -- very glad to help! DB
Posted @ Monday, July 09, 2012 11:26 AM by Donald Bastian
How does one list two forewords in the table of contents of a book? That is, they are written by two different people, both not the author. 
 
thanks!
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 5:43 AM by sarah
thanks again Donald - just received your blog on becoming a better writer etc. I'm writing my first 
Mills & Boon - almost finished - so I look forward to connecting with writers, editors and the more information on better writing the better. 
CIAO Irina
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 6:37 AM by Ira
@Sarah: I have to say I've never come across a situation like this. I can see three ways to handle this (take your pick): 
 
1) It would be better, in terms of book publishing best practices, to keep one as a foreword and make the other an afterword (you may need to reframe the one that becomes the afterword).  
 
2) You could keep one of them as a foreword (it would go first) and recast the other as a preface, making sure that, in both cases, you signal authorship on the contents page, e.g.: 
 
Foreword by John Doe 
Preface by Jane Doe 
 
Make sure, within the book, that each piece has its author's name at the end. 
 
(3) If you feel you must call them both a foreword, let the authorship of them distinguish them on the contents page, e.g.: 
 
Foreword by John Doe 
Foreword by Jane Doe 
 
Hope this helps! 
 
DB
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 8:36 AM by Donald Bastian
@Irina: Thank you so much for your comment. Again, glad to help! Best wishes to you as you complete your book. DB 
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 8:39 AM by Donald Bastian
Thank you for clearly defining exactly what I was having trouble with.  
 
Peace, 
Morgan
Posted @ Sunday, August 19, 2012 7:16 PM by Morgan
Thanks @Morgan -- glad to be of assistance! 
 
DB
Posted @ Monday, August 20, 2012 8:30 AM by Donald Bastian
Thanks for answering this question for me. I was actually wrong and just titled the section of my book foreword that should have been titled preface.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 22, 2012 3:18 PM by Charlene
Glad to help! Thanks for stopping by @Charlene. DB
Posted @ Wednesday, August 22, 2012 3:38 PM by Donald Bastian
Excellent information. Thank you.
Posted @ Monday, September 10, 2012 4:14 PM by Vanessa Collins
Well, your explanation of the uses of foreword, preface and introduction have helped me, a lot. I appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge, for other's benefit.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:44 AM by Donald
@Vanessa & @Donald: Thanks for commenting -- glad the post was useful!
Posted @ Tuesday, September 11, 2012 10:07 AM by Donald Bastian
I am so glad I found this, Donald! Thank you for the clarity in explaining these. I'm editing a book for a friend currently and was really struggling with the Introduction. I'd already started moving some content into a How to Use This Book section; good to see my inclination reinforced here. This has been so helpful and I'm sure I'll be better able to adjust the content accordingly for a more successful outcome. Thank you!
Posted @ Sunday, October 14, 2012 4:33 PM by Rose Eliff
Hi @Rose: 
 
I'm glad the post was useful. All the best as you continue to edit your friend's book! 
 
DB
Posted @ Monday, October 15, 2012 12:07 PM by Donald Bastian
I read your article from first to last words. This is exactly what I was looking to learn about.Thank you. Your advice is invaluable to be. Kudos to the 10th power.
Posted @ Friday, October 19, 2012 7:05 AM by Marie Dina
I read your article from first to last words. This is exactly what I was looking to learn about.Thank you. Your advice is invaluable to be. Kudos to the 10th power.
Posted @ Friday, October 19, 2012 7:06 AM by Marie Dina
Excellent article, thank you. I wonder whether the how to use this book part will fit well as part of the preface.
Posted @ Sunday, December 09, 2012 3:08 PM by Marcia Naomi Berger
Thanks for your comment, Marcia; I'm very pleased the article is helpful to you. I believe a preface is a good place in which to indicate to readers how a book may be used. Because the preface stands outside the book and is about the book, it is a good venue for directions to readers. DB
Posted @ Monday, December 10, 2012 10:10 AM by Donald Bastian
Thank you for the clarification; now I'm looking 'foreword' to applying this knowledge to the manuscript I've created. The Foreword, however: Would it be too 'forward' of me to ask someone to write one for my book; particularly someone who is not only an acquaintance of some years, but who's 'expert' in the field? Thanks, once again.
Posted @ Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:19 AM by george F.
Thank you for this valuable information. I am re-vamping my Dissertation into an academic textbook and presently writing the preface. Your article clearly defines these three rubrics: foreword, preface, and introduction. 
 
Posted @ Friday, December 28, 2012 2:58 PM by Dr. Kay Lumas
Awesome blog! Definitely clears up how the beginning of a book should be. Thank you!
Posted @ Friday, January 04, 2013 11:27 AM by Wendy Scheuring
Dear Donald, I have absolutely no experience when it comes to publishing a book. I hope you go easy on me. I have poetry I've written that I've grouped together to hopefully create a book. What I was wondering is whether a foreword must be written by an expert and/or author of a similar publication. Instead, perhaps it is a friend that is having the book published for me. Further, I was wondering if it could be absolutely fictious in nature. I remember I read a book one time where the current author claimed to have gotten the content of the book from one of the main characters. The contents of that book were with out a doubt science fiction. Maybe this would be something that would be called something else?
Posted @ Tuesday, January 08, 2013 5:01 PM by hbomb
In writing my book I went from preface to preface and introduction and back to preface again. When this was not what I wanted, because I really needed different material in my introduction, I looked at some nonfiction books and saw where an eminent historian used Overview and Introduction. This fits in with I want to do but I also need a Preface because of the subject matter.. 
Can I have a preface, overview and introduction? Also doesn’t an introduction always need a conclusion? In my book this is not appropriate and the author mentioned didn’t have a conclusion. 
Posted @ Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:11 PM by Kaila
Very useful .. my problem is with a "Prologue". Various academic books I've written have Forewords, Introductions and Prefaces, but now I've written a novel and those three concepts are, to me, more appropriate to non-fiction. After much reflection and reading the views of others, I've decided to stick with "Prologue" although the content of it talks about (ie sets the scene intellectually not descriptively) the ideas, themes and historical context etc of the novel but not the characters or actual story. I'm not 100% comfortable with "Prologue", but "Preface" the other possibility wasn't appropriate either (and sounds a bit stuffy) and it almost involves boring stuff like acknowledgements. Perhaps, contrarily, I also include an "Epilogue" which DOES deal with characters and storyline ... So, my view is not to get too hung up on what you call these 'frontpieces' as long as they seem fairly appropriate. Best of luck to all ...Gary
Posted @ Wednesday, January 09, 2013 12:14 PM by Gary Heilbronn
@hbomb:  
 
Your idea of creating a book by grouping your poems sounds fine.  
 
Re. the foreword question, you said: 
 
"Instead, perhaps it is a friend that is having the book published for me."  
 
I'm not sure I understand. Please tell me more.  
 
DB
Posted @ Monday, January 14, 2013 9:33 AM by Donald Bastian
Kaila:  
 
Yes, it's fine to have all three, but in my opinion, it's better to include the overview in the Introduction. Also, having an Introduction does not mean you should have a conclusion.
Posted @ Monday, January 14, 2013 9:38 AM by Donald Bastian
Gary:  
 
Sounds good to me. A prologue, in a book of fiction, can play the role of a Preface, in a book of non-fiction. Also, acknowledgments are often put at the end of a book, especially in the case of fiction. 
 
DB
Posted @ Monday, January 14, 2013 9:42 AM by Donald Bastian
Dear Donald,  
thanks for the most useful blog.  
I was asked to write a scientific/technical book, and I have invited an industry authority to write the Foreward.  
While waiting for his response, I was wondering:  
1) do we put all our eggs in one basket and just wait for a single professional's response?  
2) do we offer them a share of the book's profit?  
3) What would be a reasonable waiting time for their response?  
 
Thank you for your help.  
Posted @ Monday, January 21, 2013 10:11 AM by Moira C.
I would like to thank you for explaining the difference between these three elements. As an author who writes non-fiction books of poetry, I have struggled with both the introduction and the preface, I found myself in situations where I included both an introduction and a preface in one of my books of poetry, now I have realized that it was a mistake and I learned from it.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:59 AM by Balthazar Rodrigue Nzomono-Balenda
Thanks for your comment, Moira. In my experience (trade books, meaning bookstore books, not academic books), forewords are usually written for free, and the writer of the foreword does not share in proceeds from the book's sales. You may want to get some other experts' comments, but for the back cover and for the description of the book online. Finally, it would be worth waiting for the foreword before you publish if you think that having it in the book will give the book a stamp of approval/credibility within your market. 
 
Hope this is helpful to you. 
 
DB
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:50 AM by Donald Bastian
Balthazar: Thanks for your post. I'm glad you found it helpful. However, what you did is not necessarily a mistake. I distinguish between the three for practical purposes. There are always exceptions to any rule! 
 
DB
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:52 AM by Donald Bastian
Thank you, DB, for a wonderful resource. 
 
In reading this post, I realized how useful it would be to quote your rubrics in my own preface and introduction. Which leads to the question: "What are the rules for quoting and acknowledging source material in non-fiction?" I realize this is Writing 101, but can you steer me to the answer? 
 
Thank you!
Posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:49 PM by Jesse Smith
Thanks that helped a lot. I am now adjusting adjust my 'preface' to 'introduction."
Posted @ Thursday, February 14, 2013 5:37 AM by Leon Dee
Could you say something about the contents of the back cover?
Posted @ Thursday, February 14, 2013 5:42 AM by Leon Dee
Perfect! A non-fiction book is the legal prosecution to a jury for a conviction. The introduction is the opening statement.
Posted @ Monday, February 25, 2013 3:43 PM by Michael Stagar
Thank you so very much for that information...it immediately clarified and as you said; 'magically' put the first pages of my book in order. All is clear now :-)
Posted @ Thursday, March 07, 2013 2:33 PM by Renée Starr
Thank you DB for clarifying the differences of F,P,I, and now A. 
I never thought to learn about these differences before I wrote a P and a A for a non-fiction novel that has just been published. 
This next book of mine is turning out exactly what you explained concerning why it is useful to do a P and an an I before going to far into the story as it can expose a clearer understanding of where you want to go with the rest of the writing. I combine the Intro with the Preamble usually but in this case I am not so sure as it has reached over 9 pages. I guess I will have to wait for readers comments.
Posted @ Friday, March 08, 2013 11:27 PM by Carmel Joyce
Great Post!
Posted @ Monday, April 08, 2013 5:56 PM by Grace Halabi
This a useful post and help me. Core topic clear and easy to understand, thank you.
Posted @ Saturday, May 04, 2013 3:00 AM by sogellizer
"In a preface an author explains briefly why they wrote the book, or how they came to write it." 
 
If an author of yours read this they would be embarrassed. jh
Posted @ Saturday, May 18, 2013 5:51 PM by jh
thanks! from now on,i won't confuse
Posted @ Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:24 AM by Frank Lee
Thank you, Thank Thank you. I have just been sitting here with a Preface which seemed good at the time and it still does but I had anailbiting time deleting repetition. I transferred some to proocess which I am not going to add to the pain but will fit in with section about introducing the Diary. I now can sort one from the other. I have had to explain Foreword as distinct from Introduction. I never write my introduction until the end because I do not know what is in the main part yet as it flows. I have a scratchy idea but I usually cannot promise it and that is naother distraction. Thnaks again for this site.
Posted @ Friday, May 24, 2013 9:36 PM by
thanx a lot, sumbody like u lives to share knowledge. more power sir Donald. God Bless Us!!!
Posted @ Wednesday, May 29, 2013 7:01 PM by danilo e gervacio
I googled 'what is a preface page' and found your website. Thank you! Your information about preface, introduction and how to use this book is so useful to me, in these final stages of putting my book together!
Posted @ Sunday, June 16, 2013 9:59 PM by Kirsty
Thanks for the comments on my blog post about forewords, prefaces, and introductions. I will be posting a blog soon about how, thanks in part to our adaptation to the Internet, we now expect the front end of a book to get on with it ... fast! Some writers and publishers are turning the introduction into chapter 1. More to follow! 
Don
Posted @ Monday, June 17, 2013 8:06 AM by Donald G. Bastian
Много се смяхме и забавлявахме докато четохме коментарите. Продължавайте да коментирате все така весело и забавно (неграмотно):) 
Posted @ Tuesday, June 18, 2013 4:09 AM by Даная
By far the most lucid description of the differences between the three - immensely helpful. Thank you, Donald!
Posted @ Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:42 AM by Michael Haupt
Thank you for your comment, Michael. Very pleased to have been of help to you. 
 
Don
Posted @ Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:50 PM by Donald Bastian
Thanks for your legal analogy, Michael. That is precisely how I see it! 
Don
Posted @ Saturday, June 22, 2013 1:34 PM by Donald G. Bastian
Donald,  
 
Thanks to "Google," I was directed to your blog. I am an inspiring writer with a desire to write my own book as it relates to jcustomer service in higher education. This blog was very helpful in clarifying the difference between the three. I am in the research phase of writing my book and have tons of questions that need answers. I will not reveal a list of questions for you now, however there is an important question I do have. Is it necessary to have a foreword, preface, and introduction for my book? Thanks.
Posted @ Friday, July 05, 2013 3:28 PM by Jeffrey Pierce
Thanks for your comment, Jeffrey. To answer your question, no, it isn't necessary to have all three. Some books need them and others don't. Many, many books do not have a foreword. In fact, some books get right to it, with a preface and then chapter 1 (which often takes on the role of introducing the book). Hope this helps. 
Don
Posted @ Saturday, July 06, 2013 12:04 PM by Donald G. Bastian
I wanted to know the differences in a foreward, preface and an intoduction. You really delivered the goods.  
 
I plan to read all your articles. This was so easy to understand and clearly written. I'm glad I had already written an introduction because I can now dissect it and put the elements in the correct area.
Posted @ Sunday, July 21, 2013 9:34 AM by Nancy
Incredibly a great page you've got in here. You just have to take your chances and move forward.
Posted @ Monday, July 22, 2013 3:11 AM by click here
Thank you, Nancy. I'm very pleased that you're finding the post on forewords, prefaces, and introductions. Best wishes to you. 
Don
Posted @ Monday, July 22, 2013 7:11 AM by Donald G. Bastian
hello sir, i need your contact
Posted @ Thursday, August 01, 2013 5:36 PM by
You just have to establish the right story to what you are writing. It has to be captivating with intense words that moves readers.
Posted @ Sunday, August 04, 2013 10:59 PM by site here
Now I know. This is quite a comprehensive page. I never fully understood before about the "Preface", "Forward" & "introduction". Now I got it.
Posted @ Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:41 PM by andre @ business
Thank you for this, your two examples describe me to a 'T'. 
 
With all of these comments, I'm not sure if your request for further suggested ever included, a) how to end a non-fiction book with a one page 'Conclusion' and b) how to end chapters with a 'conclusion'. 
 
The end of the chapters I can get well enough, but it always seems that the end of the book is left incomplete. 
 
Thanks again, 
Alex Hunter 
Academy of Road Mastery
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 4:16 PM by Hunter
And how about an 'Author's Mission'?
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 5:43 PM by Hunter
Dear Donald, thanks for the very enlightening piece. 
 
I'm almost done with my doctoral dissertation, and I'm now finishing up the Introduction (which constitutes the first actual chapter). 
 
I had intended to make the first few paragraphs (half a page) easy to digest also for non-scientists -- my family and friends, say. However, my supervisor criticised this mildly vague and unscientific text, asking me: "When this dissertation is being spread around, whose attention do you want to grasp in the introduction -- so for who are you writing it?" and I felt obliged to answer that the answer would be "for other scientists in my field". They won't want to read through half a page of mild rambling before I get to the point. 
 
However, I'd like to keep this text somewhere, as I also want my friends and family to get some idea of what I've done. We were thinking of a Foreword, but reading your explanation above it might fit a Preface better. But how would you feel about something like a separate "Introduction for the Layman"? 
 
Cheers, and thanks again, 
Léon
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Thank you!!! I've been struggling to sort out exactly these things, and you hit the nail on the head. I'm going to subscribe to your blog... looking forward to more helpful insights in the future.
Posted @ Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:48 AM by Ellen
What about in thesis and dissertation? Do we need these three parts or just the introduction? I fear that your answer is yes. I'm currently proposing my college thesis and I'm having a hard time writing the introduction so I hope there is no need for preface and foreword. *cross fingers 
 
Thank you, btw.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:57 AM by Evie Menhennitt
This was very helpful and succinct.
Posted @ Thursday, August 29, 2013 1:36 PM by Rhondezvous
Would the preface work in third person?
Posted @ Sunday, September 01, 2013 9:37 PM by Hunter
Do i need to write preface in my synopsis for college purpose?..if yes..then what should i include in it???
Posted @ Tuesday, September 03, 2013 9:20 AM by pragati
Apologies if this was covered in earlier comments. Are there any rules regarding the order in which these appear, and is it ok/appropriate/allowed to have an intro, a preface and a foreward? 
 
Thank you,
Posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:45 AM by Rick Liebling
My thanks to readers of my blog piece on the difference between a foreword, preface, and introduction. Allow me to answer some questions, in a kind of omnibus post. 
 
- The usual order of these three items is foreword first, then preface, then introduction. 
- College paper do not usually include a preface. 
- It would be unusual for there to be references cited in a foreword, which is by someone other than the author of the book; perhaps in an academic book this might happen. 
- I can see why a professor would not want personal statements in an introduction to a dissertation; the way around this would be to put them into a preface, placing that before the introduction. 
- Prefaces and Introductions are sometimes given titles; "Author's Mission" definitely sounds to me as though it could be a preface.
Posted @ Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:21 AM by Donald Bastian
This was a amazing. Thank you!
Posted @ Friday, October 18, 2013 10:34 AM by Ashlie
Actually, this is what I am thinking about the past couple of days. I am writing a paper for school and I thought, what's the difference between preface, foreword and introduction. Now, I got the answer. Thanks a lot! 
 
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Posted @ Saturday, November 09, 2013 2:51 AM by Keri
This was helpful. Thank you.
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Well done. 
Regards 
Christo
Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:36 AM by Christo Engelbrecht
Thank you for this. It really cleared everything up for me. As I just joined a book club in learning to do a analytical reading they also said to do an inspectional reading and part of it was reading the opening pages. I had no clues what these different ones were for. So thank you.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 8:48 PM by Rafael
Great (and essential) information, although I am still not sure about my novel(s) set up at the beginning of the book? 
 
A fantasy story. 
13 chapters 
but at the beginning, I insert a section concerning the story, (around 2-3 pages) which knits in with what happened many years ago, concerning the storyline. 
Then go totally off that subject and begin my chapters. 
 
The beginning is a mini story concerning the plot, (ie: something you might see in the beginning of a movie, to set the tone, as to speak. 
 
What is this opening story called. A preface, an introduction, or a foreward, and how do I title this description as such. 
 
Thank you for your help 
 
Regards. Dale
Posted @ Monday, November 25, 2013 5:07 AM by Dale
This was so helpful as I am finishing up my first book. Thank you!
Posted @ Saturday, December 07, 2013 12:01 PM by Samadhi Artemisa
HELP! I am finding the task of completing a non-fiction book about my late husband's journey with a brain tumour. I kept some very detailed diaries and I am suffering from 'writer's block' as I don't know where to start and whether I should unfold things as they happened or leave some aspects of explanation until later on in the book (where it might be more useful to the reader).
Posted @ Saturday, December 21, 2013 5:32 PM by Marianne
Hello, Marianne. A common approach is to start the book with an event that happened farther into the story, and then, starting with the next chapter, to begin with the background and move your way back to that action (and beyond, if that event was only partway through the story). Take a look at similar books in the bookstore and I'm quite sure you'll find that structure in quite a few of them. 
Don
Posted @ Monday, December 23, 2013 8:31 AM by Don Bastian
DB,  
 
belive it or not this actuly helped me with my school project thanks a lot.
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Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 5:34 AM by space jam 2 movie
Is it advisable to have a preface, forward and introduction together in a book?
Posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:41 AM by Green Coast
Greetings -- No, there's no requirement or best practice that you have all three. If you're asking whether they should all be in the same part of the book, yes, they should. The usual order is Foreword first (because it is a "before" word), then Preface, then Introduction. 
 
Hope this helps the cause! 
 
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Posted @ Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:07 AM by mark a. johnson
So pleased this post was helpful to you, Mark. Sometimes a simple distinction makes things easier -- not a bad thing for writers, because writing clearly is very difficult! 
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