I would like to know the difference or if there's any difference between thereafter and afterward and how to use them properly. For example: "For the first month you’ll be working here, and thereafter in Chicago." Could I use afterward instead of thereafter?

Thank you! :)


In many uses, "thereafter" and "afterwards" or "after that" have essentially the same meaning, and one can be substituted for another with no significant change in meaning or grammar. The word "thereafter" is perhaps a bit more formal, and more likely to be sued in giving instructions, or formulating legal documents. It is also more likely to be sued when there is an implication of causation, not just sequence in time. But all of these are at most tendencies, not rules. I can't think of a case where "thereafter" would be appropriate but "afterwards" would be clearly wrong.

The given example:

For the first month you’ll be working here, and thereafter in Chicago.

is fine. But since this seems to be informal speech, I think that the form:

For the first month you’ll be working here, and after that in Chicago.

would be more likely, and seem more natural, in US usage.

  • I study by the Cambridge "English in Use" books and the given example was found in one of them. My main interest is in American English but unfortunately I haven't found a method that is only focused on that. So it was very helpful to know how it's commonly used in the United States. Thank you very much for your attention! – Barbara May 29 at 20:27

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