book introduction: preview/foreshadow/anticipate the rest of the book

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sma099, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. sma099 Senior Member


    I am looking for a word to describe the introductory chapter of a book. I want to explain how this chapter relates to the rest of the book, i.e. it basically talks about everything that is going to come up in more detail throughout the rest of the book. Sort of like "summarize", but there is a better word that I just can't think of right now.

    The introductory chapter previews the rest of the book. ?
    The introductory chapter is a preview into the rest of the book. ?
    The introductory chapter foreshadows the rest of the book. ? (I think this doesn't work - foreshadow is usually used for negative things to happen in the future, right?)
    The introductory chapter anticipates the rest of the book. ?

  2. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    You could say The introductory chapter is a preface to (prefaces) the rest of the book.
    Preview means to say something in advance about something. The book is to be published on Friday, but it's been previewed in several newspapers. The programme is a preview of next Saturday's football matches.
    You're right about foreshadow, although it's not always particularly negative. The rise of the extreme right-wing parties foreshadowed the violence which was to come.
    Anticipate can mean to take action in advance, although it's often just a verbose alternative to expect. We anticipated their arrival by getting in some extra food. We don't anticipate any problems.
  3. sma099 Senior Member

    Thanks for your answer. My question about your first suggestion is whether there could be any confusion with „preface“ as the „technical term“ for the opening remarks you sometimes find in a book. The book I am referring has no section titled „preface“ but starts right away with „chapter 1“. Is it still a preface even if it’s not called that explicitly?
  4. lentulax

    lentulax Senior Member

    Cumbria , England
    UK English
    Why not simply 'The first chapter introduces the themes/ideas etc. which are explored/developed/examined in detail etc. in the succeeding chapters.'
  5. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    The first chapter of the book is introductory. It introduces the rest of the book.
    The introductory chapter of the book is introductory.
  6. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    I like lentulax's suggestion (#4).
    "Summarizing" is usually done after the fact. The final chapter might summarize the rest of the book.
  7. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    If someone said This book's got a preface, I'd expect there to be something called Preface and something else called Chapter One. If the books starts at Chapter One with no introduction or preface, I wouldn't call Chapter One a preface or an introduction even if it acted as one by giving a synopsis of the book. I suppose I could call it an introductory chapter.

    (A book can have a preface and/or an introduction. I'd expect a preface to be quite short. It could say why the author wrote the book. An introduction can be quite long. If the book's about a war, for example, the introduction could say something about the events leading up to the war.
    I'd expect a synopsis of the book to be in the introduction, or perhaps in the preface if it's quite short. But I suppose it could be in Chapter One instead. There's no set format.
    Sometimes the pages numbers to the preface/introduction are in Roman numerals and then Chapter One start at page 1 with Arabic numerals.)
  8. sma099 Senior Member

    Ok, great, thanks!

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