1

I'm not sure which is the correct one in the following sentences.

1: I'm going to go for a walk with him after he finished his work.
2: I'm going to go for a walk with him after he has finished his work.
3: I'm going to go for a walk with him after he finishes his work.

In my own language, we always use "finished" (use "past tense" even if it has not happened yet), because I'm imagining he is in the state of "finished his work" or "has finished his work". So I have no idea which one should I use in English.

Please tell me which is the correct one, and why it should be so.

  • 2
    #1 is invalid because you're mixing future (I'm going to) with past (when he finished work). The other two are fine, and it would be splitting hairs to claim there's any significant difference in meaning, so it's more a matter of stylistic preference than anything else. When in doubt (i.e. - if you don't understand the relatively insignificant distinction that might apply), just use the simpler verb form. – FumbleFingers Sep 22 '16 at 15:30
2

In English, the second and third statements are correct. "I'm going" indicates a future event and the after indicates a sequencing.

If you are talking from the time where the finishing and walking have both not occurred yet:

I'm going for a walk with him after he finished his work

This sentence would be incorrect because the finishing is in the past, but the walking is in the future, so the sequencing of "after" doesn't work.

I went for a walk with him after he finished his work

This works since the times are in sequence

If you are talking from the time where the finishing is completed but the walking has not occurred yet:

You will have to join them with "since" or "because".

I'm going for a walk with him since he finished his work

I'm going for a walk with him since he has finished his work

These work because "since" (or "because") indicate a condition or state reached. Since has another meaning which is similar to "after", but that is not applicable in this case.

For example,

Since he arrived, I've been rather busy

meaning:

From the time he arrived, I've been busy.

The difference between the second and third would be slight. The present perfect would imply a relevance between the completion of the work and the present action (going for a walk). Either is possible, but in my dialect at least, the present perfect would be more common for processes (like eating, working, etc).

  • Your example I'm going for a walk with him since he finished his work is syntactically valid, but in that context since has no direct connection to the "in sequence" sense which corresponds to OP's after. It can only mean because. – FumbleFingers Sep 22 '16 at 15:32
  • Yes, "since" is commonly used to mean the same thing as "because". I can make that clearer. "Since" and "after" can both be used temporally, but "since" means "from the time that" or alternatively "because". There is still a difference between since and after in those cases because since often includes the event; e.g. "Since 1945" would include 1945 in the time period whereas "After 1945" would not. – eques Sep 22 '16 at 16:14
  • You don't need to make the use of since clearer to me! But perhaps I need to clarify the intent of my earlier comment (posted to justify my downvote, which might perhaps encourage you to edit your answer text after which I'll cancel it). What I'm saying is that there's no specific reason to introduce the word since at all (it doesn't directly relate to OP's question), and given this is a learner's site it's quite possible the net effect of so doing might simply be to confuse rather than illuminate matters (esp since you've used the word with both senses in your own text! :) – FumbleFingers Sep 22 '16 at 16:19
  • I was attempting to add an example of where a combination of "to be going" and a past tense verb would make sense in comparison to the incorrect version OP posted, especially since sequencing events with since is also fairly common – eques Sep 22 '16 at 16:22
  • Fair enough. I'm still not entirely convinced it's worth introducing since into the explanation, but following your edit things don't seem to be quite so "potentially confusing", so I've removed my downvote as promised. – FumbleFingers Sep 22 '16 at 16:37

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