Afterward vs. Afterwards: Understanding the Difference

When writing in English, it’s common to come across words that are similar in meaning but have subtle differences. One such example is “afterward” and “afterwards.” While these two words are often used interchangeably, they do have some distinct differences that are worth exploring. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between “afterward” and “afterwards” so that you can use them correctly in your writing.

The Main Difference Between Afterward and Afterwards

Afterward vs. Afterwards: Understanding the Difference Pin

Afterward vs. Afterwards: Key Takeaways

  • There is no difference in meaning between afterward and afterwards.
  • Afterward and afterwards are adverbs that refer to something happening at a later time. Although they are interchangeable in American English, British English speakers tend to use afterwards more often.

Afterward vs. Afterwards: The Definition

Before we dive into the differences between afterward and afterwards, let’s first define these two words.

What Does Afterward Mean?

Afterward is an adverb that means at a later or subsequent time; subsequently. It is often used to indicate that something happened after a particular event.

What Does Afterwards Mean?

Afterwards is also an adverb that means at a later or subsequent time; subsequently. It is used in the same way as Afterward 

Both “afterward” and “afterwards” are adverbs that indicate the time following an event or action. They are used interchangeably, and there is no difference in meaning between the two words. However, American English speakers tend to use “afterward” more often, while British English speakers prefer “afterwards.”

Here are some examples of how to use “afterward” and “afterwards” in a sentence:

  • After the party, we went to a movie theater afterward.
  • I’ll see you afterwards.
  • She finished her work and left shortly afterward.

As you can see, both “afterward” and “afterwards” can be used to indicate the time following an event or action.

Afterward vs. Afterwards: Usage and Placement in a Sentence

Both “afterward” and “afterwards” are used to indicate something that happens after a particular event or time. For example:

  • We went to the movies, and afterward/afterwards, we grabbed some dinner.
  • She finished her work, and afterward/afterwards, she went for a walk.

In terms of placement in a sentence, “afterward” and “afterwards” are typically used at the beginning or end of a sentence, or immediately after the verb.

  • Afterward/Afterwards, we went for a walk.
  • We went for a walk afterward/afterwards.
  • She finished her work, and afterward/afterwards, she went for a walk.

In each of these examples, the placement of “afterward” and “afterwards” is flexible, and the meaning remains the same.

Tips to Remember the Differences

Here are some tips to help you remember the differences between “afterward” and “afterwards”:

  • Both words are interchangeable and can be used in the same context.
  • American English speakers tend to use “afterward” more often, while British English speakers prefer “afterwards.”
  • If you are writing for an American audience, use “afterward.” If you are writing for a British audience, use “afterwards.”
  • When in doubt, use the word that sounds more natural to you.

Afterward vs. Afterwards: Examples

Example Sentences Using Afterward

When you want to talk about something that happens after another event, you can use “afterward.” For example:

  • He apologized for his mistake and promised to be more careful afterward.
  • I’ll go to the store afterward to buy some groceries.
  • She finished writing her report and afterward, she took a break.

Example Sentences Using Afterwards

Similarly, “afterwards” is also used to indicate that something happens after another event. Here are a few examples:

  • She went to the gym, and afterwards, she went to the grocery store.
  • After the meeting, we went out for dinner afterwards.
  • He finished his work and then went out for a walk afterwards.

In these examples, “afterwards” is used to connect two events that are happening one after the other, just like “afterward.” However, “afterwards” is more commonly used in British English, while “afterward” is more common in American English.

Afterward and Afterwards: Related Confused Words

Afterword vs. Afterward

An afterword is a section of a book that is written by the author and is typically found at the end of the book. It provides additional information, reflections, or context about the book or its creation.

For example, “The author’s afterword provided valuable insights into the writing process.”

On the other hand, “afterward” is an adverb that means at a later or subsequent time. It is used to indicate something that happens after a particular event or point in time.

For example, “She finished her work, and afterward, she went for a walk.”

In summary, an afterword is a specific section in a book, while “afterward” is an adverb used to indicate time sequence.

Aftermath vs. Afterwards

The term “aftermath” refers to the consequences or results of a significant event or occurrence. It typically denotes the period following a disastrous event, such as a natural disaster or conflict. For example, “The aftermath of the hurricane left widespread destruction in its wake.”

Conversely, “afterwards” is an adverb that indicates something that occurs at a later time or following a specific event. It is used to describe actions or events that happen subsequently.

For instance, “She completed her exam, and afterwards, she went out for dinner.”

In essence, “aftermath” pertains to the outcomes of an event, while “afterward” refers to actions or events that occur later in time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should ‘afterward’ be used in a sentence?

‘Afterward’ is an adverb that refers to something that happens at a later time. It is usually used to indicate the sequence of events. For example, “You can meet me at the park afterward.” In this sentence, the word ‘afterward’ indicates that the meeting will take place after another event.

What are the guidelines for using ‘afterwards’ correctly?

‘Afterwards’ is also an adverb that means ‘at a later time’. It is used to indicate that something happens after a previous event. For example, “He ate dinner, and afterwards he watched a movie.” In this sentence, the word ‘afterwards’ indicates that watching the movie happened after eating dinner.

What is the difference between ‘afterwards’ and ‘then’ in sequence of events?

‘Afterwards’ and ‘then’ both indicate the sequence of events. However, ‘then’ is used to indicate a logical sequence of events, while ‘afterwards’ is used to indicate a temporal sequence of events. For example, “He ate dinner, then he watched a movie” indicates that watching the movie logically follows eating dinner, while “He ate dinner, and afterwards he watched a movie” indicates that watching the movie happened after eating dinner.

What is the distinction between ‘subsequently’ and ‘afterwards’?

‘Subsequently’ is an adverb that means ‘later on’ or ‘afterwards’. The main difference between ‘subsequently’ and ‘afterwards’ is that ‘subsequently’ implies a cause-and-effect relationship between the two events, while ‘afterwards’ simply indicates a temporal sequence of events.

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Last Updated on December 22, 2023

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