foreword vs. preface / prologue

Discussion in 'English Only' started by moura, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. moura

    moura Senior Member

    Portuguese Portugal

    Before I put this thread I searched the WRF and found that this same question was already answered here , here, and here.

    In this last, there is an explanation that applies to my case:
    Although not everybody makes this distinction, quite often a foreword is not written by the author but for instance, in an academic book, by another scholar. A preface, on the other hand, is invariably written by the author and comes after the foreword (if there is one).

    My main doubt, as I have to translate it to Portuguese (where this difference does not exist that I know of) is whether it would be right to translate:

    foreword - prologue *
    preface - preface *

    * there are similar words in Portuguese - they mean the same, but I may use them to establish some "terminology" difference.
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think a prologue is more like a preface than a foreword.
    A prologue is typically part of the author's work - a scene-setter or introduction.

    The preface or introduction to a text; esp. a speech (usually in verse) forming the introduction to a play; a preamble, a preliminary discourse.
  3. moura

    moura Senior Member

    Portuguese Portugal
    Thanks Panjandrum. If you had to find a synonym for "foreword", if any, what would be your choice?
  4. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    As far as I can see, foreword and preface mean exactly the same thing, it's just that the latter is from the Latin directly, and the former may have been borrowed from the German transliteration of the Latin word!

    However, M-W qualifies this by saying foreword is used especially when the text is written by someone other than the author.

    Personally, I would not substitute prologue, as, I would say, a prologue is part of the work, whereas prefaces and forewords are outside of the work itself. Prologue also tends to be associated with drama and verse.
  5. moura

    moura Senior Member

    Portuguese Portugal
    Thank you , Matching Mole.

    As I understand there is no substantial difference in English, between preface and prologue, only with the exception that the "prologue" may be a inner part of a play, drama. I understand that.

    On my case, I am thinking in using the word "introduction" regarding the own author's preface, for I must use two different words here.
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think that's a good idea, moura: much better than prologue.
  7. moura

    moura Senior Member

    Portuguese Portugal
    Thank you Loob :)
  8. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    I am pretty clear about what a prologue and an epilogue are, but I always used to think that a preface and a foreword were pretty much interchangeable, the preface tending to be a bit longer than the foreword.
    Furthermore, I see in an online dictionary that the two words share exactly the same definition:
    noun: a short introductory essay preceding the text of a book.
    And yet there seem to be occasions when both a preface and a foreward appear in the same book, written by two different people:

    The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure was released on November 30, 2009 by Abrams Books.The book features detailed production artwork from the film, including production sketches, illustrations by Lisa Fitzpatrick, and film stills. Producer John Landau wrote the foreword, Cameron wrote the epilogue, and director Peter Jackson wrote the preface. (Wikipedia)
    And incidentally if both preface and foreword are present, which is supposed to come first. I should think the foreword does.

    << Moderator's note: This thread has been combined with an earlier thread. >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2010

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