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Is it Afterward or Afterwards? Which is Correct? (Grammar + Examples)

Is it afterward or afterwards? Spoken English can be confusing sometimes based on the person, place, and context. There is a lot of debate on many verbal and written words that stir up arguments. Today we discuss similar confusion on which word is correct: Afterwards or Afterward.

The difference between afterward and afterword:

Before we begin exploring the aspects of afterward and afterwards, let’s get this out in the air. Afterward and Afterword are two completely different things. Fundamentally, an Afterword refers to a paragraph or a write-up written at the end of the book.

To be more clear, an afterword concludes the book or a novel written in the third person (not the author) as a good spirit. Afterward and afterword are two unrelated things in terms of their meanings and use.

An example of an afterword: My book is currently under print, and the publication is planning for a new afterword.

What is the meaning of afterwards?

To begin with, “afterwards” is a directional adverb used in spoken English to dictate a time.

Ex 1: Tom left the party shortly afterwards.

Ex 2: He was arrested long afterwards.

Ex 2: Let’s go to the movie now and eat afterwards.

Here we bring a conclusive answer to which is the right word to use. Because we hate to delay things afterwards.

Afterwardsat a later or future time; subsequently.
Afterwardat a later or future time; subsequently.

Differences in the US & UK English use

To begin with, there are absolutely no differences between the words. “Afterward” and “Afterwards” mean the same in terms of the meaning they convey.

Both the words do not profess any differences in meanings as they both indicate events in time. The Merriam-Webster, AP Style, and Oxford Dictionary all suggest the same meaning.

The only difference is American English commonly refers to afterward while UK and Canadian English use Afterwards.

Afterward vs afterwards
Afterward vs afterwards

How to use Afterward?

Afterward is simply a synonym for the word later. Here are some clear examples of how to use afterward.

Example: Sara and Alex had dinner and went to the movie afterward.

Example: I would like to read the book now, and I will watch the movie afterward.

Example: Afterward, my father went out to buy us some candy.

How to use Afterwards?

As mentioned before, afterwards carries the same meaning as afterward. There is no difference in the meaning and the context irrespective of its use.

Example: Afterwards she regretted what she said.

Example: I am planning to go to Starbucks afterwards.

Example: It crosses my mind afterwards that seven is too late so I preponed it.

What is the most commonly used adverb: Afterward or Afterwards?

If you are still hesitant about what to use, then go for Afterwards. The use of afterwards is the most commonly used word when compared with afterward in British English.

The use of “afterwards” is rapid in talking comparatively. However, it is safe to use “afterward” when you are writing a piece as it appears more professional and precise.

Since everything’s been cleared out as to which afterward to use, we wish you a great day without having to delay the wishes for afterwards.  


Afterward/Afterwards are clear adverbs placed before or after a verb to suggest a time variation. It is the most common synonym for the word later.

However, it is essential to understand that afterword is a completely different noun with different naming.

The easy way to identify the difference between afterward and the afterword is the word O. 

Now that you are clear on how to use afterward and afterwards, make sure to implement them in your day-to-day routine for more accuracy.


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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