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Writing Books/Preface v. Foreword v. Introduction

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Question
What are the distinctions/differences between a book's "Preface", Foreword" & "Introduction"?

Answer
Dear John,
That's a good question. A preface is the author's comments about how and why they wrote the book. It may also include the author's acknowledgements of all the people who helped. The Foreword is the author's introduction to the piece, giving some background or "fore" "words" that will set the scene for the reader. The introduction is usually written by an outside party, just as someone introduces a speaker at a podium.
Of course, these rules are flexible. For example, an author may write the introduction, skip the preface, and just write acknowledgements, or a dedication.
The final sequence and elements are up to the author and publisher, although publishers may have a format they usually follow.
Look through the books on your bookshelf to see all the various ways the frontmatter is handled.
If you have any follow-up questions, please write back again.
Sincerely,
Nori

P.S. My writer's workshop is here on the Internet:
http://steamboats.com/writing.html

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