Parts of a Book

The previous post (here) discussed the difference between the words forward (a directional term) and foreword (a part of a book). Careful readers may have noticed that we lowercased the word foreword in our example sentence:

As the author mentioned in the foreword to her volume.…

The lowercasing of the term is consistent with the rules found in CMS §§8.177–78, that generic labels for the parts of a book are lowercased and set roman, with no enclosing quotation marks. Such labels include table of contents, foreword, preface, acknowledgments, abbreviations, list of figures, glossary, introduction, chapter, appendix, bibliography, contributors, and index. For example:

The author thanks her mentor in the acknowledgments.

For the meaning of bolded terms, see the glossary.

The volume introduction surveys all the essays to follow.

After the introduction frames the question, chapter 1 lays out the methodology.

For a structural diagram of the text, see appendix A.

The work includes an extensive and valuable subject index.

Since we are on the topic of the parts of a book, permit us to mention a few other matters.

  1. CMS §1.4 lists the standard order of the parts of a book, including front matter, the body of the text, and back matter. After the copyright page, common elements of the front matter include: dedication, table of contents, figures and tables, foreword, preface, acknowledgment, abbreviations. The order of the back matter is: appendix, glossary, bibliography, contributors, index.
  2. Edited volumes that collect works from multiple contributors generally do not include a dedication, unless that dedication is from all the contributors to a person important to the entire group (CMS §1.35).
  3. The term foreword is best reserved for a front-matter piece written by someone other than a book’s author or editor; the label preface is generally used for author- or editor-written pieces (see CMS §1.39).


Semirelated bonus tip: Other generically named parts of a work are also lowercased and set roman.

We discover in volume 2 of Mowinckel’s Psalm Studies

Aristotle writes in book 2 of his Ars rhetorica

In act 2, scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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