Skip to main content

Foreword vs. Forward (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use foreword vs. forward with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

This week, we're going to take a look at the difference between foreword and forward. One word has a very specific, writing-related meaning; the other is a bit more versatile.

(Click here for more grammar rules for writers.)

So let's look at the difference between foreword and forward, along with examples of correct usage!

foreword_vs_forward_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Foreword vs. Forward

Foreword is always a noun that refers to comments made before the actual text (usually in a book) and most commonly by someone who is not the author.

Forward, on the other hand, can be a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb depending upon how it is used. Often, it is used to mean toward the front, onward, or in advance of something. One might forward their address or flash forward (into the future). In some sports, a forward is a person positioned in the front position for a team in relation to scoring points.

Make sense?

Let's go through a few examples:

Correct: Dana Gioia wrote the foreword for the 2nd edition of John Drury's The Poetry Dictionary.
Incorrect: Dana Gioia wrote the forward for the 2nd edition of John Drury's The Poetry Dictionary.

Correct: Since there were no students in the front row, the teacher asked them all to move one desk forward.
Incorrect: Since there were no students in the front row, the teacher asked them all to move one desk foreword.

Correct: I hope I'm not being too forward by asking you to write the foreword for my upcoming book.
Incorrect: I hope I'm not being too foreword by asking you to write the forward for my upcoming book.

Here's a quick trick for keeping these straight: The word in foreword is a dead giveaway that it's supposed to be the commentary (or words) in the front of a book. Every other usage is likely supposed to be forward.

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.