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After, Afterwards and Then
If I had to choose among all the 'stupid and irritating' mistakes a teacher ever meets in exams and competitive exams, I think I'd choose this precise one, which is the proof of the students' carelessness ; they KNOW but don't THINK ENOUGH when writing or speaking. Please, beginners, do make an effort, in order to learn this phenomenon rapidly, so that you will never have an opportunity to hesitate!
AFTER may be :
1) A preposition : after + noun or gerund.
ex : After Christmas, children are busy playing with their new toys...
ex : I'll go to see him after checking whether he's home or not!
2) A temporal (subordinate) conjunction = after + temporal clause.
ex : After his mom came back from abroad, the baby wouldn't leave her for a minute.
ex : He was so happy after he had won on lotto, that he forgot we were all here with him.
ex : I sprained my ankle after I tried to carry my heavy luggage and fell down.
3) An adverb, placed only at the end of a clause. 'AFTER' is then preceded by a noun or another adverb: a few days after ; shortly after ; long after ;
ex : Leave your papers and come a week after (= later).
ex : She called to see him and shortly after, she came in the flesh... It will be quicker!
BE CAREFUL ! When narrating a story, don't ever say or write 'and after, .... and after ...' but 'then', 'afterwards', or 'after that'.
ex : The baby's mom read the book, then, the baby looked at the images, then, he laughed and clapped his hands, and then he tore the book into pieces ...
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