Foreword vs. Forward – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ August 17, 2017/ Uncategorized

foreword versus forward

What is the Difference Between Foreword and Forward?

Foreword and forward are a pair of homophones, which means the two words have the same pronunciation but different meanings. Therefore, in writing, you cannot interchange the two words.

A foreward is an introduction to a book. Usually someone other than the book’s author writes the foreward.

  • Some editions of The Autobiography of Malcolm X have a foreword written by his daughter, Attallah Shabazz.

Forward relates to position and directions and refers to the front rather than the back.

  • After ending a relationship, some people find it helpful to think about what caused the breakup. Others prefer to move forward in their lives and never look back.

The most common error with these words is confusing the spelling of one for the other. Besides confusing the two spellings with each other, some writers mix the words together to create non-existent spellings such as forword or foreward.

Now, let’s look at the specific ways to use these words, as well as how to avoid common mistakes.

Using Foreword in a Sentence

When to use foreword: Foreword is a part of a book or other text. It appears at the beginning and introduces the content.

For example,

  • The first edition of this book comes without a foreword. However, later editions include different forewords that attempt to give context to the story.
  • It was a great honor to be asked to write the foreword for this important textbook.

There are not any notable idioms with foreword. However, preface and introduction are similar words used to describe this part of a book.

Using Forward in a Sentence

When to use forward: Forward can be many different parts of speech, including an adverb, adjective, noun, or verb. It relates to the front position.

  • As an adverb, it describes movement towards the front.
  • As an adjective, it describes a thing that is in the front position.
  • As a noun, it means a player on an athletic team that plays in front of the other players.
  • Finally, as a verb, it describes the action of moving or sending something onward.

For example,

  • The dancers moved forward towards the audience. (adverb)
  • The soccer player made a forward pass to her teammate. (adjective)
  • My position on the soccer team is a forward because I’m fast and can make goals easily. (noun)
  • Please forward this email on to the client after proofreading it. (verb)

There are several expressions with forward:

  • from this day forward: from today and into the future
    • From this day forward, I swear to always protect you.
  • one step forwards, two steps backwards: a little progress followed by losing that progress, and being worse off than before
    • The man proclaimed “one step forward and two steps backwards,” after he fixed his car engine but in the process destroyed several key, expensive car components.
  • to come forward: to offer evidence about a crime
    • At first the police believed that there were no witnesses to the murder, but finally someone came forward.
  • to look forward to: to anticipate something eagerly
    • The students looked forward to their graduation and summer vacation.

Remembering Foreword vs. Forward

It is possible to use the spelling of these words to remember the meanings.

For example, foreword is spelled with fore, like in before, and word, like the words in books. Therefore, it is very easy to remember that foreword means the words before the other words in a book.

Likewise, forward is spelled with wa, like in the word way. It describes a direction or way, specifically moving towards the front way.

Outside Examples

  • As Wagner writes in her foreword, “For all his long life, Washington suffered in comparison to his father, that powerful presence.” Forever tethered, as if by their family’s metal cabling. –New York Post
  • Talk show host Ricki Lake wrote the foreword. –LA Times
  • The Utah Jazz signed forward Royce O’Neale on Wednesday. –USA Today
  • However, many people look forward to retirement partly for the joy of finally being independent from the social niceties that crop up at work and which sometimes seem more like a forced connection than a real friendship. –Chicago Tribune

Quiz: Forward vs. Foreward

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either forward or foreward.

  • To save time, the student skipped reading the _____________ of the book.
  • Don’t look back. Keep moving ______________.
  • The defensive line and the _____________ line need to learn how to play together.

Article Summary

Should I use foreword or forward? These two words sound the same but have totally different meanings.

  • Foreword is a noun that means an introductory part of a book or other text.
  • Forward can be an adverb, adjective, noun, or verb which relates to the front position.

Make sure you aware of this difference when choosing which of these words to use.

Quiz Answers

  • foreword
  • forward
  • forward