How are you all? How was your Khmer New Year Holiday? I have been away from this blog for a while, so today I was thinking of bringing this discussion for you as the fresh start of the New Year. I will be showing the differences between Foreword, Preface, and Introduction as I can see a lot of people getting confused when thinking of either of them.You might have written many technical books or academic reports. You might also have written a lot of forewords, prefaces, or introductions. However, when asked “What are the differences between the three?” you may gasp and ask yourself. The following explanation could be helpful.
Foreword (Khmer: បុព្វកថា) refers to the preliminary pages in a technical or academic report. It is written by a distinguish person who is not the author of the work. If we follow the generally accepted definition in publishing, it comes right after the Table of Contents, and the pages are numbered with lower-case Roman numerals, e.g., i, ii, iii, etc., rather than the Arabic numerals used for the text of the book.
Ideally, it’s written by an expert on the subject of the book who says that the author did good job writing about the subject. The foreword generally speaks well of the author. A foreword, as the spelling indicates, is a word that comes before. It’s not a forward, which is a direction, or a foreward, which is a misspelling.
Preface (Khmer: អរម្ភកថា) also refers to the preliminary pages in a technical or academic report or book. It is written by the author. It often gives an overview of how the book came to be written, its intended purpose, and to what extent it covers the topic. It may come before or after the foreword, but it usually comes after and follows the same page numbering system. The preface may also include acknowledgments. If a book has both a Forward and a Preface, the Foreword is always placed first.
Introduction (Khmer: សេចក្តីផ្តើម) is also written by the author (or, sometimes, the editor). It’s an essay that sets up the full topic of a book. It states what the author’s point of view is and may indicate what the reader’s point of view should be. After reading the introduction to find out what’s in the book, the reader can decide whether or not to read it. Since it is part of the text, the pages are numbered with the same numbering system as the text.
Stewart Clark and Graham Pointon, (2003). Word for Word. Oxford University Press. New York