Difference Wiki

Afterward vs. Afterwards: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 18, 2023
Both mean "at a later time," with "afterwards" being more common in British English and "afterward" in American English.

Key Differences

The terms afterward and afterwards both refer to a subsequent time or after a particular event has occurred. While these adverbs share the same meaning, their usage slightly varies based on regional preferences. In American English, afterward tends to be the more favored term, while afterwards sees more usage in British English.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023
Delving deeper into afterward and afterwards, both words can be seamlessly interchanged in sentences without changing the message conveyed. For example, stating "I went to the store and met my friend afterward" and "I went to the store and met my friend afterwards" mean precisely the same thing. Both afterward and afterwards convey the notion of something happening subsequent to a specified event.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023
The history of English language evolution has gifted us with numerous such pairs, where both versions coexist with minute variations, often influenced by regional dialects and preferences. Afterward and afterwards fit into this category, where both forms have been in use since the Middle Ages, with neither being incorrect or more correct than the other.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023
In essence, choosing between afterward and afterwards is largely a matter of style or regional influence. While writers or speakers might have personal preferences, it's crucial to note that using one over the other won't typically lead to misunderstandings. Both afterward and afterwards serve as tools to reference a time following a specific event, and the choice between them boils down to personal or regional tendencies.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Comparison Chart

Meaning

Refers to a time following a specific event
Same as "afterward"
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023
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Usage

More common in American English
More common in British English
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Flexibility

Can be used interchangeably with "afterwards"
Can be used interchangeably with "afterward"
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Ending

Ends with "-ward"
Ends with "-wards"
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Origin

Both forms have been in use since the Middle Ages
Same as "afterward"
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward and Afterwards Definitions

Afterward

At a later time or subsequent to a particular event.
We had lunch; afterward, we went for a walk.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023
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Afterwards

At a subsequent time or after a particular event.
We had a meeting; afterwards, we had coffee.
Huma Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward

In the time following an action.
I studied for hours and took a nap afterward.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Afterwards

In the span of time after an event.
The seminar was informative; many stayed to network afterwards.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward

Following a specific occurrence.
The movie was boring; we left afterward.
Huma Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Afterwards

Following on from a specific occurrence.
The play was excellent; we discussed it afterwards.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward

Subsequent to a point in time.
The rain stopped, and the sun appeared afterward.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Afterwards

In the time that follows an action.
She sang a song, and we applauded afterwards.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward

In the period after an event.
He gave his speech and sat down afterward.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Afterwards

Subsequent to a given moment.
He shared his plan and answered questions afterwards.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Afterward

At a later time; subsequently.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

Afterwards

At a later time; subsequently.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

Afterward

(US) afterwards
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

Afterwards

(temporal location) At a later or succeeding time.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

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
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

Afterwards

At a later or succeeding time.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

Afterwards

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
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2019

FAQs

Can I use afterward and afterwards interchangeably?

Yes, they are interchangeable in terms of meaning.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Are both forms grammatically correct?

Yes, both afterward and afterwards are grammatically acceptable.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

How does afterwards differ from afterward?

Afterwards is more common in British English, while afterward is favored in American English.
Huma Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Which form should I use in academic writing?

Either can be used, but it's essential to be consistent throughout the text.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Why might someone prefer one form over the other?

Preference can be based on regional influences or personal style.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Is there a trend in the usage of these terms?

Usage can vary based on regions and changing linguistic preferences.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Why are there two versions of the word?

Language evolution has led to variations, often influenced by regional dialects.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Does the difference between afterward and afterwards affect comprehension?

No, both words convey the same meaning.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Is the "-wards" ending common in British English?

Yes, similar pairs exist like "toward" (American) and "towards" (British).
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

In what contexts are afterward and afterwards typically used?

They're often used in narratives or descriptions to indicate a sequence of events.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Are there synonyms for afterward and afterwards?

Yes, synonyms include "later", "subsequently", and "then".
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Can either word be used in formal correspondence?

Absolutely, both words are appropriate for formal contexts.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

What does afterward mean?

Afterward refers to a time following a specific event.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Is one form more formal than the other?

No, both forms are equally formal.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

How long have both forms been in use?

Both forms have been in use since the Middle Ages.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

How can I remember the difference?

Recall that "afterward" is American, and "afterwards" is British.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Are there other similar pairs in English?

Yes, such as "toward/towards" and "forward/forwards".
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Do other languages have such variations?

Many languages have dialectal or regional variations in words.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Does the choice of using afterward or afterwards affect the tone of a sentence?

No, the tone remains unchanged regardless of the choice.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023

Can I start a sentence with afterward or afterwards?

Yes, both can be used at the beginning of a sentence.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 18, 2023
About Author
Written 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.
Edited 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.

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