Is there any difference in meaning in the following sentence?

After you finish your homework, call me.

After you have finshed your homework, call me.

I pretty often hear natives use after and the present perfect when referring to the future, but I am not aware of the difference between the present simple and perfect when talking about the future.

  • See Michael Sawn's Practical English Usage (ed. 2019) - chapter 23, section 249 for a comprehensive but concise answer on the usage of 'after' and the differing time indications.
    – JoHKa
    Jun 21, 2022 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


When the runner finishes the race, the runner crosses the finish line. When the runner has finished the race, the runner is across the finish line.

In American football, the player scores a touchdown when any part of the ball breaks the (imaginary) plane of the goal-line (the plane is perpendicular to the playing surface). The player has scored a touchdown when that action is deemed to have taken place.

The difference is merely in how the event or action is understood. The facts "on the ground" are the same. We can understand the action as one in which a boundary is crossed or one in which a boundary has been crossed. It simply involves a shift of a virtual vantage point.

  • 1
    Sorry, I cannot get it. My both sentence is in future tense. We cannot say "after you will finish your homework, nor can we say "after you will have finished your homework" because when we use "when" we have to use the present tenses. I cannot see the difference. Nov 25, 2018 at 15:33

I think they both mean the same, first you finish your homework, then you call me. The word "after" clarifies the sequence.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .