Difference Between a Foreword & Introduction


The main difference is between the foreword and the Introduction of a book is how they are used. An introduction is meant to give the reader an overview of what the book is about, while a foreword is meant to give the reader an expert perspective on the relevance of the book. Usually a short piece written by someone other than the author, the foreword may provide a context for the main work. The introduction speaks to topics, themes and how the book is organized.

Writer and Contents of the Foreword

  • Someone other than the author of the book usually writes the foreword. That person is typically an authority in the field who can establish integrity of the author. The interaction between the writer of the foreword and the author of the book is usually addressed. The foreword is often signed with the author's name, place and date.

Location of the Foreword and Other Uses

  • The foreword is placed after the table of contents. The pages are numbered with lower-case Roman numerals rather than the Arabic numerals used for the rest of the book. As a marketing tool, the foreword may be used to market both the foreword writer and the author of the book. The forward writer explains the purposes and the goals of the work, and may also place the work in a context, as well as spell out the organization and scope of the book.

Writer and Contents of the Introduction

  • The introduction is a mini essay written by the author or an editor that describes the topic of a book. The introduction can be considered as a preview of what is to come in the rest of the book. The Introduction explains the author's point of view and may suggest how the reader will benefit from reading the book. A good introduction sets the stage for the reader and makes the book more appealing.

Location of the Introduction and Other Uses

  • The introduction is placed after the foreword. The pages of the Introduction are usually numbered using the same numbering system as the rest of the book.

    Introductions are also sometimes used as marketing tools and may be be excerpted on the book jacket or in other places to enable readers to know the benefits of reading the book.


  • "The Elements of Style, 4th Ed."; William Strunk, Jr., E. B. White; 1999
  • "The College Writer: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Researching"; Randall VanderMey, Verne Meyer, John Van Rys, Dave Kemper, Pat Sebranek; 2004
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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