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Can I use after and then interchangeably in this example, and mean the same thing?

I went to the game, and then I came home.

I went to the game, and after I came home.

(The second example might sound a little weird, because only one event happened. What if several events had happened for example I washed my car, took the kids to school, walked the dog, and after, I came home. Would it also sound weird this way? There have been instances where I've heard native speakers using it this way, and that's what made me question this.)

What if we changed the phrase a little bit and wrote I went to the game, and after that I came home? Would it still be incorrect?

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In casual conversation, people sometimes use "after" as an adverb. I think it must be short for "afterward" or "after that", because that's what they mean by it (as an adverb).

In the written sentence you use as an example though, it doesn't really work, at least without the comma following "after". It's too easy to mistake that "after" for a preposition, and parse the sentence, "I went to the game, and, after-I-came-home." And then the reader is left wondering, "after-you-came-home ... then what?"

In speech, it would be clear. Or else you could write, "I went to the game, and I came home after." People would understand the meaning, but some might object to that usage of "after" (as adverb) in written English.

Your final example, "I went to the game, and after that I came home." is quite correct and sounds fine written or spoken.

  • Yea, this is so tricky. I've caught myself using after as an adverb multiple times before, especially when talking about several things that happened before an event, such as in my example phrase I washed my car, took the kids to school, walked the dog, and after...... I came home!. – Kaique Mar 28 at 0:09

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