Foreword vs. Forward: What’s the Difference?

When two words sound alike, but are not spelled the same and do not mean the same things, they are called homophones. There are many of these words in English.

It’s easy to confuse two homophones in writing—after all, they are pronounced the same, so you need to rely on context to determine which word to use.

Foreword and forward are a classic set of homophones. They sound identical when spoken aloud, but they are used in separate contexts that don’t overlap. You have to be sure whether you mean foreword or forward, or your writing won’t make sense.

What is the Difference Between Foreword and Forward?

In this article, I will compare foreword vs. forward. I will use each word in a sentence to illustrate its proper context, and, at the end, I will give you a helpful trick to use when deciding whether to use forward or foreword when writing your own pieces.

When to Use Foreward

foreword versus forward What does foreward mean? Foreward is not a word, but it is a common misspelling of two English words foreword and forward. Forward is a directional word that means ahead. A foreword is a short introductory section in a book.

When to Use Foreword

Definition of forward definition and definition of foreword definitionWhat does foreword mean? Foreword only has one meaning in modern usage: a short introductory section in a book. A foreword is typically written by a person other than the main author. When written by the main author, it is called a preface. Some books have both.

See below for a few sentence examples.

  • Norm Macdonald’s memoir features a foreword written by the comedian Louis C.K.
  • The short but juicy foreword to the Boss’s autobiography, posted on Facebook, hints that there are secrets yet to be uncovered about the New Jersey rocker. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Forward

Define forward and define forewordWhat does forward mean? Forward has many uses. It can be an adjective, a noun, or a verb.

Forward means the direction in front of you, or more simply, ahead. Figuratively, it can also mean onward so as to make progress, even on a project or task that doesn’t involve actual travel.

Here are some examples.

  • Rachel noticed that the path forward was blocked by a fallen tree.
  • Before the job can move forward, we need updated designs from the engineering department.
  • Prandini also fell forward at the finish, and like Miller, she said her dive had not been intentional. –The New York Times

Forward can be used as an adjective. See the sentence below.

  • Rachel made forward progress by stepping over the fallen tree.

Forward can also be a noun. This usage is usually relegated to the world of sports, where a forward is a mainly offensive position player.

For example,

  • Jeremy is a starting forward on our soccer team.

Lastly, forward is sometimes used as a verb. In this sense, it means to pass information along. In the information age, this has come to refer to email.

See the sentence below for an example.

  • Please forward the spreadsheet to accounting.

Trick to Remember the Difference

How to use forward Here is a helpful trick to remember forward vs. foreword in your writing.

  • You should never use foreward. It is not a word.
  • For a section of a book, choose foreword
  • For other uses, including a direction, a player on a sports team, or relaying an email to someone else, use forward.

A foreword comes before the words in the rest of the book. You need only look at the way the word is spelled to remember to reserve foreword for this context and this context only.

Summary

Is it foreword or forward? Foreword and forward are two homophones. Foreward is a common way to misspell either of these words.

  • A foreword is an introduction to a book.
  • Forward can mean a direction, a player on a sports team, or an action when sending emails or other information.

A foreword comes before the words in the book’s main text. This mnemonic makes it easy to remember when to use foreword. Now, you can avoid these common mistakes in your own writing.

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