to preface or not to preface, that is the question

Sunday January 7th 2024 by socraticDev

What I want to emphasize here is the collective awareness by social networks users of this communication strategy: prefacing. It seems that Internet users notice more the use of preambles in communications. Above all, those with which they disagree.

“Prefacing” means to introduce one’s point with additional informations intended to put the listener in context. However, this communication maneuver has recently acquired a negative connotation in social media, particularly on X (formerly Twitter).

Less often used to enrich the topic, the preface has become a strategy to discourage dialogue or even simply refuse it.

prefacing examples

  • "I am not someone who likes to play politics, but we must absolutely tackle the problem of hiring a certain type of profile in our universities"
  • "In fact, the publication of blogs should be reserved for organizations official rather than amateurs like SocraticDev"

the use of the verb “prefacing”

Prefacing is an interesting element of our daily communication. Like paying attention to non-verbal cues, I encourage myself to add this aspect to my routine of reading the room for enrich my understanding of any social situation.

Analogue to fallacies, prefacing could be used as unfair tactics to stifle dialogue; a non-rational act aimed at imposing a balance of power, for example.


I want to "postface" by emphasizing that I was not aware of the use of the word “prefacing” until recently. I sympathizes with the detractors of this tactic while demonstrating measure.

Establishing a common ground between the speaker and the audience is fundamental for successful communication.

The notion of ethos (the character of the speaker) is part of the art of rhetoric. Will we rebel because a speaker takes the time to present their personal story before diving into their speech?

For my part, I am happily adding this aspect to my critical thinker's toolbox. While keeping myself from using this new notion to help me rebel me further. (╯°□°)╯︵

translated from french with google translate


search for 'prefacing' on X