Difference Between Afterward and Afterwards (With Table)

So, throughout time, I’ve found that I see ‘afterward’ and ‘afterwards’ at various times. The phrases ‘afterward’ and ‘afterwards’ are homophones, and I have a pet peeve about hearing anyway. They have similar-sounding names, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. Although another pair of comparable terms-afterward and afterwards-mean the same thing, these two phrases have little in common.

Afterward vs Afterwards

The main difference between afterward and afterwards is that the adverb afterward is very common in American English. On the other hand, in British English, the adverb afterwards is preferred.

The phrases ‘after’ and ‘later’ are synonymous with the adverb afterward. Afterward refers to events that occur close together and are defined as later or subsequent times. After then, it is the occurrences in time that are directed, not the physical locations. The ‘adverb of time’ follows. With an action, the adverb following is utilized.

Aferwards is an adverb that refers to anything that happens afterwards. It’s a euphemism for the term later. Only an adverb can be used when the word ends in an’s.’ To be accurate, afterwards and afterward have the same meaning and are used in the same settings. Later, subsequently, etc. are synonyms for afterwards.

Comparison Table Between Afterward and Afterwards

Parameters of ComparisonAfterwardAfterwards
DefinitionAfterward may be defined as an adverb referring to ‘directionality after time.’Afterwards may be defined as an adverb that describes a thing that comes later.
Parts of SpeechAfterward is both an adjective as well as an adverb.Afterwards is usually an adverb.
Formal or InformalAfterward is more likely to be used in less formal situations.Afterwards is likely to be used in more formal situations.
UsageAfterward is used in American English.Afterwards is used in British English.
InclusionAfterward appears as a suffix ward in a collection of terms like as forward, backward, upward, and so on.Afterwards appears as a suffix wards in a collection of terms such as forwards, backwards, and so on.

What is Afterward?

In American English, the adverb subsequently is favored. Afterward is an adverb that refers to something that happens afterwards. In present usage, terms with the suffix ‘-ward’ are common in North America, whereas the ‘-wards’ version is more frequent outside of North America. As a result, the term afterward is widely used in North America. It is an adverb that directs time after.

Afterward does not direct geographical locations, but rather temporal events. The ‘adverb of time’ follows. In less formal settings, the adverb afterward is employed. Later on, its equivalent is utilized in more official contexts. Afterward might be used as an adjective on occasion. For instance, “The forward-thinking woman did not look like one at all.” In this sentence, ‘forward’ is used as an adjective and describes the woman as ‘forward-thinking.’

However, it is more likely to be used as an adverb. With an action, the adverb following is utilized. Following that, it is frequently written down rather than stated. It is the final section of any novel, book, or other work. It adds depth to the book and provides a smooth conclusion or an opportunity to respond to his criticism. Afterward can be illustrated as, for instance, “She went to work and then she went to eat ice-cream afterward.”

What is Afterwards?

Some people may or may not add a -s to several directional adverbs in spoken or written English.The word after is another example of one of these adverbs. After that, it has the same meaning as its counterpart. Afterwards is defined as ‘an adverb that describes anything that occurs later in time.’ Following that, it has the same context as its counterpart. It differs from its counterpart in that it is used more formally.

Outside of North America, it is also pondered in British English. This phrase is preferable in official works due to the use of subsequently as a more formal term. A subsequent or later time is described by the verb subsequently. ‘Afterwards’ has ten letters in total. Speakers from outside the United States and Canada prefer the form with the possessive ending.

However, this is not true in all circumstances, as there are always exceptions. After that, unlike its equivalent afterward, cannot be used as an adjective. Because a word ending in ‘-s’ can only be used as an adverb, it can’t be utilized in any other way.The afterwards can be illustrated as an example like, “My sister afterwards packed the leftovers.”

Main Differences Between Afterward and Afterwards

  1. In sentences, both words have the same purpose. The distinction is that one is more official than the other, and some countries prefer one over the other. Afterward is more commonly used in professional conversations, while afterwards is used casually.
  2. Authors from the United States and Canada have utilized afterward since then. British authors, on the other hand, were employed afterwards later.
  3. Afterward can be used as both an adverb and an adjective. However, afterwards can only be used as an adverb after that.
  4. Afterward is part of a group of terms that finish in the suffix ‘ward,’ and afterwards is part of a group of words that end in the suffix ‘wards.’
  5. Contrary to popular belief, the adverb afterward is used with an action, but the verb afterwards specifies a subsequent or later period.

Conclusion

There is no distinction in meaning between the phrases afterward and afterwards. The terms thereafter and afterwards are classified as adverbs in the parts of speech. Both the words thereafter and subsequently are time adverbs. Both of these words are synonyms for ‘later.’ Furthermore, both the words afterward and afterwards can be used interchangeably.

Afterward is an adverb that means ‘direction after time.’ After that is an adverb that refers to something that happens afterwards. In less formal settings, the adverb afterward is employed. Later on, its equivalent is utilized in more official contexts. Furthermore, in a sentence, the role of afterward and afterwards is the same. After that might be used as an adjective on occasion.

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/488776
  2. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1066.5754&rep=rep1&type=pdf