An ELL post demonstrates the usage of "preface" when talking about words orders.

This may well be my regional preference, though I couldn't quickly find any written examples where options are listed prefaced by "alternate".

Which fits the meaning of it on the Cambridge Dictionary.

an introduction at the beginning of a book explaining its purpose, thanking people who helped the author, etc.

Another example from the Cambridge Dictionary demonstrates the usage of "precede" for the similar situation

Verbs usually precede objects in English.

I understand the meanings of them. I’d just like to know whether they are interchangeable for this particular situation.

Verbs usually preface objects in English.

Do they mean the same thing when talking about words orders?

  • 1
    Those dictionary examples are very, very clear. precede means to come before something. preface is either an introduction to a book OR an introduction to a speech. He prefaced his remarks by saying.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


No, they're not interchangeable. "Prefaced" means that one thing introduces another. "Precedes" means that it comes before, with no implication of introduction.

In your first example, "preface" works because "alternate" conditions the meaning of "options". You wouldn't use "preface" in your second example unless the verb in question changed the usual meaning of the "object".

  • Thank you. In my second example, "the verb in question" refers to "preface", right?
    – JQQ
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 4:51
  • @JQQ No, by 'the verb in question" I meant the verb (whatever it is) that is mentioned as preceding the object. For example, "He likes ice cream." The verb "likes" precedes, but does not preface "ice cream". Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 5:25
  • Thank you. 'The verb "likes" precedes, but does not preface "ice cream"', because the verb "likes" does not change the usual meaning of "ice cream", right?
    – JQQ
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 5:51
  • @Jqq Yes. Check the dictionary for "preface". It means more than "comes before". Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 6:17
  • Thank you. In my first example, which is the verb in question that changes the usual meaning of something?
    – JQQ
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 6:31

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