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How should I interpret the structure after...time of?


Example 1:

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/bhopal-teen-kidnapped-in-car-raped/articleshow/75283878.cms

After three hours of the nightmare, the duo left her near Mayur Park and threatened to kill her if she spoke to anyone about the rape.

I listed two ways to interpret it. Which one is correct?

(1)The nightmare lasted for three hours, and after that, the victim was left near Mayur Park and threatened.

(2)The victim was left near Mayur Park and threatened three hours after the nightmare. And we don't know how long the nightmare was


Example 2:

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/pune-girl-with-rare-metabolic-disease-undergoes-liver-transplant/articleshow/73556902.cms

The baby regained consciousness after two hours of the surgery and shifted to her room.

I listed two ways to interpret it. Which one is correct?

(1)The baby gained consciousness two hours after the surgery. And the surgery lasted for an unknown period of time.

(2)The surgery lasted for two hours, and the baby became conscious after that.

1 Answer 1

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In the specific context of your examples, it is correct that the events ended after the time specified. However, that is determined by the context, not the words "after [time] of".

For example:

After an hour of watching the terrible movie, he switched it off.

This does not mean that the movie is only an hour long - it means the subject switched it off after that time because he wasn't enjoying it.

After two hours in the air, the captain made an announcement.

This does not mean that the flight only lasted two hours - it means that the announcement was made two hours into it. The flight would have continued

In both your example you go on to specify that the events ended after the time given, but in other contexts it is simply a way of relating a the time from one event to another event.

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  • Thank you for your answer. (1) and (2) in the examples are my interpretations, which means they are my guesses about what the original sentences might mean. If you just look at the original sentences (example 1 and 2), do you think the action lasted for that given period of time, or more like the cases you provided in your answer?
    – vincentlin
    May 14, 2020 at 15:09

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