Difference Between Preface, Prologue & Foreword

Well, I have often observed that the Budding Authors simply mixes up Preface, Prologue & Foreword. Actually, most of the debutant authors do not understand the difference between these three different concepts and for many of them ‘Preface, Prologue & Foreword’ are all the same thing. Now, just imagine the kind of blunder they are committing!

Therefore, today with this article I am going to highlight the difference between the Preface, Prologue & Foreword for all the budding authors and writers who always confuses with these three different concepts and assume them a same thing. Interestingly, there is one similarity between a Preface, Prologue & a Foreword, which is that all these three things are always placed before the beginning of the chapters in the book. Moreover, all these three things are more or less at the beginning of a book. Therefore, this might be one of the reasons for the budding authors to mix up these concepts.

Anyways, the aim of this write-up is to clear the concept of the authors and writers regarding this issue and explain the difference between a Preface, Prologue & a Foreword. So let us begin by understanding the concept of a Preface in a book.

  • Preface: Most often found in nonfiction books or academic writing, a preface is written from the point of view of the author. This short introductory statement reveals information about why the author wrote the book. A writer also takes the liberty to talk about himself or herself; in addition, they tends to justify this by mentioning their qualifications to write about this topic.

There is no hard and fast rule that a Preface should be written only in a non-fiction or academic book. It is a common observation that many of the fictional writing authors also adds a Preface in their books. Now, after covering the concept of Preface, let us understand the concept of a Prologue!

  • Prologue: Typically found in works of fiction, a prologue is usually written from a character’s point of view, either the main character or a character who brings a different perspective to the story. This introductory literary device gives the reader additional information that will help their comprehension of the story. This can include background information on characters, events that took place before the story begins, or information that establishes the setting of the story.

Again, there is no hard and fast rule that a Prologue should be written only for a fictional book, an author with a non-fictional book can also insert a Prologue in his or her book. If that the insertion of Prologue looks valid and suits well with the content of the book then there is no harm in adding a Prologue in a non-fictional book. Now, since we have covered the concept of the Prologue so let us cover our final topic now and understand the concept of a Foreword in a book!

  •  Foreword: A foreword is an introductory section of a book written by someone other than the author, usually a prominent figure like an expert on the subject matter, another author, or a critic. A foreword lends credibility to the book and author by praising the work, the writer, or both. A foreword can sometimes be a type of literary marketing tool publishers use to increase the profile of a book and attract readers.

Well, a Preface, Prologue & Foreword are all a part of a book’s front matter – the introductory section of a book, often numbered with Roman numerals, that also includes the title page, table of contents, and introduction. While the back matter contains any end of the book sections – like an epilogue or afterword. Despite their close proximity, prefaces, prologues, and forewords serve very different purposes.


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