Forward vs. Foreword:

I just noticed that "foreword" is surprisingly often miswritten "forward," even in cite-checked and edited law review articles.

One data point: The Harvard Law Review's yearly Supreme Court issue contains "Foreword" articles, which are almost always by top legal scholars and often end up being heavily cited. They are also generally labeled "The Supreme Court, [year] Term: Foreword -- [Title]." Searching for "Term Foreword" pre/20 "Harv. L. Rev." and date(> 1/1/2000) through the LAWREV;ALLREV file in Lexis reveals 1795 citing articles. But running the same search for "Term Forward" ... reveals 179, with virtually no false positives. That's a much higher error rate than I would have expected.

Of course, one day "forward" might become common enough to be a perfectly acceptable synonym for "foreword." (I hope not, but it might happen; many perfectly acceptable words today were once errors.) But this day hasn't yet come, and certainly the dictionaries don't suggest that it has come. Plus in any event, when you're citing a document with "Foreword" in its title, "Foreword" is what you should use. So be careful out there.

When it's misspelled in the original's title, I assume you "misspell" it in the citation?
4.14.2009 1:15am
Thoughtful (mail):
Very foreword of you to correct us all...
4.14.2009 1:33am
Syd Henderson (mail):
A similar thing happened with "forego" (to precede) and "forgo" (to do without).
4.14.2009 2:34am
Another Kevin (mail):
Of course, פֿאָרווערטס ( is a document with 'Forward' in its title.
4.14.2009 5:58am
corneille1640 (mail):
Syd Henderson:

A similar thing happened with "forego" (to precede) and "forgo" (to do without).

Yikes! If you're right, then I've been making a bad mistake in my writing. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to look it up, so I'll just take you're word for it.
4.14.2009 7:35am
corneille1640 (mail):
Errr....I realize now what you meant. Please ignore my first comment.
4.14.2009 7:35am
Tracy Johnson (www):
Far be it to be froward with your forewards.
4.14.2009 9:24am
The first time I saw this error in a document produced at work I argued that it was there on purpose to tell readers the book was in English, not Hebrew, as a guide to directional comprehension.
4.14.2009 10:00am
What are you folks talking about? If it doesn't have a red squiggle it's spelled correctly.
4.14.2009 10:15am
SteveinTX (mail):
I can't fully trust anyone who only knows one way to spell a word.

4.14.2009 10:31am
The Unbeliever:
ShelbyC wins the thread.
4.14.2009 10:35am
one of many:

Of course, פֿאָרווערטס ( is a document with 'Forward' in its title.

But that is deliberate, it is the use of the adjective/adverb "forward" (direction of motion) instead of the noun "foreword" (preface) which makes me wonder if some of the uses Prof. V uncovered might be deliberate "forward"s. I also wonder how many of those "forward"s are transcription/spell-check errors introduced by typists indexing pre-digital forewords instead of a shift in usage (see this indexing of which also includes the mysterious word "adn").
4.14.2009 11:49am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
What, no comment about how "foreword"/"prologue" and "afterword"/"epilogue" have the exact same literal meanings but are used differently? You're slipping Eugene.
4.14.2009 4:22pm

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