US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/ˈæftɚwɚd/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(aftər wərd, äf-)

WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
after - afterwards - later
After is usually a preposition. If something happens after a particular time or event, it happens during the period that follows that time or event.
Vineeta came in just after midnight.
We'll hear about everything after dinner.
You can say that someone does something after doing something else.
After leaving school he worked as an accountant.
After completing and signing the form, please return it to me.
Be careful
Don't say that someone is ‘after’ a particular age. You say that they are over that age.
She was well over fifty.
Be careful
Don't use ‘after’ to say that something is at the back of something else. The word you use is behind.
I've parked behind the school.
Afterwards is an adverb. If something happens afterwards, it happens after a particular event or time that has already been mentioned. You often use afterwards in expressions like not long afterwards, soon afterwards, and shortly afterwards.
She died soon afterwards.
Shortly afterwards her marriage broke up.
Afterward is also sometimes used, especially in American English.
I left soon afterward.
Not long afterward, he made a trip from L.A. to San Jose.
Later is an adverb. You use later to refer to a time or situation that follows the time when you are speaking.
I'll go and see her later.
A little, much, and not much can be used with later.
A little later, the lights went out.
I learned all this much later.
You can use after, afterwards, or later following a phrase that mentions a period of time, in order to say when something happens.
I met him five years after his wife's death.
She wrote about it six years afterwards.
Ten minutes later he left the house.
'afterward' also found in these entries:

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