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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.

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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.

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