Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Afterward and Afterwards

There is no difference in the meaning of these two words. Afterwards is a variant of afterward and both words are adverbs used in association with time.  Words ending with a directional suffix ‘ward’ have a parallel form of the word with the suffix ‘wards.’  For example toward or towards, backward or backwards.  The meaning of the word afterward is not changed by writing afterwards but the different spelling and pronunciation is preferred in some countries and used in a more formal way in others.  The use of afterward is more common in North America while English speakers prefer to say afterwards. These two words should not be confused with the word afterword that is the final concluding section of a book.  It would appear then that the use of the word afterward or afterwards is purely preferential.


What is afterward?

Afterward serves the following purposes:

  • It is an adverb of directionality after time
  • It is the more formal version of its afterwards counterpart.
  • Afterward can serve as an adjective occasionally. The afterward plan of action was to get the soldiers to the next castle.


What is afterwards?

Afterwards is used in the following manner:

  • It is an adverb describing something that comes later in time.
  • It is a synonym for the word later
  • When the word ends with an ‘s’ it can only be used as an adverb.


Difference between two words

  1. Function:

Both words serve the same function in sentences.  The difference is one is more formal than the other and preferred in some countries to others.

  1. Composition:

Both words are spelt the same except for the ‘s’ on the end.

  1. Word use and spelling:

Both words can be used interchangeably and mean the same thing.

Afterward versus Afterwards


Summary of Afterward versus Afterwards

  • These two words are the same and used in the same way.
  • They are both used as adverbs of time and have the synonym of later
  • There is more formality attached to afterward than afterwards
  • Afterward is used subsequently to an action, Ernest Hemmingway wrote:

‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.’

(Quote:  ‘Farewell to Arms.’)

  • Afterwards is used to describe a later or succeeding time.

The children went to school and afterwards the played in the park.

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References :

[0]Nordquist Richard. Afterwards or Afterward.www.thought.com/afterwards-and-afterward-1689292.March 07.2017 pub Dotdash.viewed 5/08/2018

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/74/Memorial_of_William_Tyndale_002.JPG/501px-Memorial_of_William_Tyndale_002.JPG

[2]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14598609297

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