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How to say "introduction" for a book

Hi ChinesePod team, my question is this:

How do you say “introduction” such as a section or chapter of a book. I see many choices such as:


What is the difference among these words? Are there other words? Which one is correct?

Hi there,
The individual translations are as follow:

  • 序言 [xùyán] - Prologue
  • 导言 [dǎo yán] - Preface
  • 引言 [yǐnyán] – Introduction
  • 前言 [qiányán] – Foreword

For an introduction to a book, we often use 引言. Synonyms for introduction also include 绪论, 简介. Among the three, there is strict correct vocabulary. Depending on the content of the book, we also use 序言 and 导言 interchangeably.
Hope this helps!


Hey Betty, thanks for your reply. When would you use 绪论, 简介? Does it depend on the type of book?

Hi there,

绪论 is especially for academic books or essays, while 简介 is the blurb on the back cover of all kinds of books.