Meaning of AFTER in English

AFTER

preposition

1

BAD : After a week we're going to Italy.

GOOD : In a week's time we're going to Italy.

BAD : I hope that I'll still be healthy after ten years.

GOOD : I hope that I'll still be healthy in ten years' time.

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When you mention a time in the future that is measured from 'now' (the moment of speaking), use in a month's time, in three weeks' time , etc (or just in a month, in three weeks ): 'She'll be back again in a couple of weeks' time.'

Note the alternatives: 'A week (from) today we're going to Italy.' 'I hope that I'll still be healthy ten years from now.'

2

BAD : First we got stuck in a traffic jam and then our car broke down. After all we decided to cancel the trip and went back home.

GOOD : First we got stuck in a traffic jam and then our car broke down. In the end, we decided to cancel the trip and went back home.

BAD : We stopped for a meal on the way and after all we didn't arrive until midnight.

GOOD : We stopped for a meal on the way and in the end we didn't arrive until midnight.

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FINALLY · IN THE END · EVENTUALLY · AT LAST · AFTER ALL · AT THE END

Finally and lastly are used (1) at the beginning of a sentence) to introduce the past point in a speech, reply, essay etc: ‘finally, I’d like to consider the economic arguments.’ ‘Lastly, I’d like to thank you all for coming and wish you a safe journey home.’ (2) to introduce the last action in a sequence of actions or the last thing in a list: ‘Finally, as soon as you hear a beep, press the start button.’ ‘She showed us the new dress, then the blouse, and lastly the shoes.

Finally and eventually are used to show that something happens after a long time or delay: ‘When the bus finally arrived it was full up.’ ‘Eventually the baby stopped crying and we managed to get some sleep.’

Eventually and in the end are used to introduce the result or outcome of something: ‘In the end United won by three goals to two.’ ‘It seems more and more likely that the human race will eventually destroy itself.’

At last means ‘after a long period of waiting or trying to do something’: ‘I’m pleased to hear that you are out of hospital at last.’ Unlike eventually, at last is often used in connection with the present situation, and expresses a sense of relief: ‘I can’t believe that we’re actually getting on the plane at last.’ ‘Do you mean that you’ve really stopped smoking at last?’

After all means ‘despite what was planned, expected or believed’: ‘We stayed at home after all and watched the match on television.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be coming to London after all.’ After all is also used to remind someone of a fact which they should consider: ‘I’m not surprised you’re tired. After all, you didn’t get any sleep last night.’ ‘Why are you so upset about losing? After all, it’s only a game.’

At the end At the end refers to the point where something finishes: ‘Their house is at the end of the road.’ ‘Do you remember what happens at the end of the film?’ Unlike in the end, at the end is usually followed by of : ‘at the end of the lesson/course/road/year’.

3

BAD : I promised to meet Hitomi at the exhibition a week after.

GOOD : I promised to meet Hitomi at the exhibition a week later.

BAD : I returned to Germany after two years' time.

GOOD : I returned to Germany two years later.

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When you mention a time in the past that is measured from an earlier time in the past, use a month later, three months later, etc: 'Six months later they got married.'

4

BAD : After 1961 the consumption of cheese has increased each year.

GOOD : Since 1961 the consumption of cheese has increased each year.

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To refer to a period of time that begins in the past and continues up to 'now' (the moment of speaking), use since (NOT after ): 'I've been standing here waiting for you since half past three.' 'She hasn't been to see us since she got married.'

5

BAD : My first aim is to get a master's degree. After I would like to go and work in Canada.

GOOD : My first aim is to get a master's degree. Afterwards, I would like to go and work in Canada.

DUBIOUS : A police car arrived within minutes and soon after an ambulance came.

GOOD : A police car arrived within minutes and soon afterwards an ambulance came.

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After is used instead of afterwards only in informal styles, usually in phrases such as 'soon after', 'not long after' or 'just after'. Careful users generally prefer afterwards, especially at the beginning of a sentence: 'Shortly afterwards it was announced that the bank had collapsed.'

In American English after is often used instead of afterwards .

6

DUBIOUS : A police car arrived within minutes and soon after an ambulance came.

GOOD : A police car arrived within minutes and soon afterwards an ambulance came.

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In informal styles, after is used in phrases such as 'soon after', 'not long after' and 'just after'. Careful users prefer afterwards , especially in formal styles: 'Shortly afterwards it was announced that the bank had collapsed.'

In American English after is often used instead of afterwards .

7

DUBIOUS : I studied English for 2 years. After that I got a job as a stewardess on an American airline.

GOOD : After studying English for 2 years, I got a job as a stewardess on an American airline.

DUBIOUS : We could all meet at my house for lunch. After doing this, we could go to the beach.

GOOD : We could all meet at my house for lunch and afterwards we could go to the beach.

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The meaning 'then' can be expressed in a number of ways, e.g. afterwards, then, later on, subsequently, after + v-ing. Avoid the repeated use of after that and after doing this/that.

8

BAD : After you will leave, we will write to you every day.

GOOD : After you leave/have left, we will write to you every day.

Longman Common Errors English vocabulary.      Английский словарь распространенных ошибок Longman.