Foreword or Forward: Remember the Difference Easily

Foreword or forward is confusing because the words sound the same, but they are different parts of speech with different meanings that you should know.

The words foreword and forward are commonly confused in English writing. Though the words look and sound the same, they are different parts of speech with different meanings. 

If you can understand the differences, you will be a stronger writer and avoid embarrassing grammar mistakes. Here is a closer look at how foreword vs forward are used.

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Foreword or Forward? It’s a Matter of Meaning

The truth is that foreword and forward are homophones. This means they are words that sound the same but have different meanings. In this particular homophone pair, they also have different parts of speech.

Foreword Is a Noun

The word “foreword” is always used as a noun. This refers to the introductory remarks given to introduce a speaker or prepare a reader for the main text that follows. The foreword is given at the start of the speech or beginning of the book. 

A foreword can be defined as:

  • The introductory part of a book
  • The introduction to a speaker or speech

Many books have a foreword that lays the context for the book. It may introduce the author of the book, some backstory for the book or some information the reader needs to know to understand the work that follows afterward. Synonyms for foreword include preface or introduction.

Examples of Foreword

Examples of foreword
Foreword is given at the start of the speech or beginning of the book

Some examples that use foreword properly include:

  • The book’s author wrote a foreword explaining his motivation for writing.
  • After the foreword, the book had an acknowledgment section.
  • The page numbers were in lowercase Roman numerals because the pages were the foreword, not the main text of the book.

Forward Can Be an Adverb

“Forward,” on the other hand, can work as a modifier. One of the common uses of the word is as an adverb. When used as an adverb, forward means momentum moving an object ahead. It can also indicate a direction in front of the person or item.

Examples of Forward as an Adverb

If you choose to use forward as an adverb, it might look like this:

  • The man moved forward after topping to look at the pretty house.
  • The teacher told the children to face forward.
  • The soccer team surged forward while chasing the ball.

Forward Can Be an Adjective

Forward can also be used as an adjective This way it means advancement or being near the front of something. It can also stand for being brash.

Examples of Forward as an Adjective

To use forward as an adjective, you might say:

  • The forward movement of the water made it easy to paddle the canoe.
  • His brash approach was viewed as quite forward. 
  • The ad campaign was moving the brand’s message forward.

Common Phrases That Use Forward

The word forward shows up often in common phrases, but the word foreword does not. Some of these include:

  • Put your best foot forward. This refers to looking or acting the best way you can.
  • Moving forward. This typically means to gain traction or start healing after a challenge or setback.
  • Fast forward. This means to move quickly through or past something.
  • Looking forward. This means to anticipate something you will enjoy doing in the future.

How to Remember the Difference 

Knowing that foreword is a “word that comes before” in a book could help you remember how to use it properly. Since it has the word “word” in its spelling, you can easily keep the words straight. However, this does require that you know that “foreward” is an incorrect spelling.

A Final Word on Foreword or Forward

Because they are homophones, foreword and forward are often confused for each other. However, the two spellings of these two words have distinct uses and meanings. 

Foreword is the “beginning word” of a book. Use foreword when writing about the introduction to a book. It is always a noun.

Forward is an adjective or adverb that means in front of or ahead for most uses. Use this word when you need a modifier in your sentence.

FAQs About Foreword or Forward

Are “foreword” and “preface” the same?

A preface is a type of foreword to a book, so the two words are synonyms. 

Is it “foreword” or “forward?”

Use foreword when referring to the introduction or preface to a book. Use the word forward when describing frontward motion, direction or movement.

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.