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After vs. Afterward: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Huma Saeed || Published on January 24, 2024
"After" is a preposition or conjunction indicating subsequent time or event, while "afterward" is an adverb meaning at a later time.

Key Differences

"After" is used to denote a sequence in time or order, often introducing a clause. "Afterward" is used to refer to a time following a specific event, typically at the end of a sentence.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
In usage, "after" connects two events to show a relationship of time or sequence. "Afterward" acts as a standalone adverb, indicating what happens next without needing a direct object.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
"After" can be used to indicate a following in place, time, or order. "Afterward" is strictly temporal and does not imply spatial sequence.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
When expressing a cause-and-effect relationship, "after" is the preferred choice. "Afterward" is used when the focus is on the timing of events rather than causality.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024
"After" can also imply a pursuit or search, as in "after you." "Afterward" has no such usage and is limited to indicating subsequent time.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Preposition or conjunction
Adverb
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Usage in a Sentence

Connects two clauses or events
Stands alone at the end
Sumera Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Temporal vs. Spatial

Indicates time and order
Indicates only time
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Cause-and-Effect

Yes
No
Aimie Carlson
Jan 24, 2024

Implication of Pursuit

Can imply pursuit
No implication of pursuit
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
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After and Afterward Definitions

After

As a preposition, "after" indicates what follows in time.
After the movie, we went to dinner.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Afterward

It can indicate a subsequent action.
He spoke to them, and shortly afterward, they left.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

After

"After" can denote a sequence in events.
After completing her homework, she watched TV.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Afterward

"Afterward" is used to refer to the later part of a period.
In the evening, we watched a movie, and afterward, we discussed it.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

After

Used as a conjunction, "after" connects two ideas.
After she left, it started to rain.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Afterward

It can denote a concluding event.
After the ceremony, we gathered for photos and left shortly afterward.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

After

"After" can mean in pursuit of.
The police were after the suspect.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Afterward

"Afterward" means at a later time.
We went for a walk and had coffee afterward.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

After

"After" can also indicate in the style of.
She named her daughter after her grandmother.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Afterward

"Afterward" often wraps up a narrative.
She told her story, pausing for effect, and smiled sadly afterward.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

After

Behind in place or order
Z comes after Y in the alphabet.
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Afterward

At a later time; subsequently.
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

After

Next to or lower than in order or importance.
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Afterward

(US) afterwards
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Afterward

Happening at a time subsequent to a reference time;
He apologized subsequently
He's going to the store but he'll be back here later
It didn't happen until afterward
Two hours after that
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

FAQs

What is "after" primarily used for?

"After" is used as a preposition or conjunction to indicate sequence or time.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Is "afterward" interchangeable with "after"?

No, because "afterward" is an adverb and "after" is a preposition or conjunction.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 24, 2024

Can "after" be used in place of "afterward"?

Not usually, as they serve different grammatical functions.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Can "after" indicate spatial sequence?

Yes, "after" can imply spatial order as well as temporal.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

What is "afterward" primarily used for?

"Afterward" is an adverb indicating something happening at a later time.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Does "afterward" imply spatial sequence?

No, "afterward" strictly refers to time.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

How does "after" function in a sentence?

"After" connects clauses or events to show sequence.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

Can "afterward" start a sentence?

Rarely, as it's typically used at the end or in the middle of a sentence.
Janet White
Jan 24, 2024

Can "after" imply a cause-and-effect relationship?

Yes, "after" is often used to show causality.
Janet White
Jan 24, 2024

Does "afterward" imply cause-and-effect?

No, "afterward" focuses on the sequence of time.
Janet White
Jan 24, 2024

How does "afterward" function in a sentence?

"Afterward" acts as an adverb, often concluding a sentence.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Can "after" be used in legal contexts?

Yes, "after" is often used in legal language.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

Is "after" used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, like "after you" or "day after day."
Janet White
Jan 24, 2024

Is "afterward" used in idiomatic expressions?

No, "afterward" is generally used in its literal sense.
Janet White
Jan 24, 2024

Is "after" used in formal writing?

Yes, "after" is appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Is "afterward" used in formal writing?

"Afterward" is suitable for formal and informal writing.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Can "after" start a sentence?

Yes, "after" can start a sentence when used as a conjunction.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

Are there variations of "afterward"?

Yes, "afterwards" is a common variant.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

Are there variations of "after"?

No, "after" is consistent in its form.
Harlon Moss
Jan 24, 2024

Is "afterward" common in legal language?

Less so, as legal language often requires more precise temporal markers.
Huma Saeed
Jan 24, 2024
About Author
Written by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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