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He has become a popular content creator since he started producing GTA content.

He has become a popular content creator after he started producing GTA content.

Are both sentences grammatically correct? I acknowledge that since is undoubtedly the sentence most would choose here, but is the second one acceptable?

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2 Answers 2

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At first I agreed with WS2's response, but after reading the comments. I think the situation may be slightly more complicated. Here is my sense of the differences.

He has become a popular content creator since he started producing GTA content.

The use of "since" implies an effect that took place immediately and persisted to at least the present and may persist into the future. This inclusion of the present normally requires the present perfect. There is also a weak implication of causality in this sentence, but the main intent is to say that one event began immediate after the other and persists until now.

*He has become a popular content creator after he started producing GTA content.

This sentence is only marginally acceptable. The use of the present perfect with "after" tends to disrupt the time line between the two clauses and also any implication of causality. The word "after" has no special reference to the present; whereas using the present perfect does. This mismatch forces the reader to wonder for an instant why the present perfect was used. In a simple sentence like this, it would be much better to use the simple past. Then the tense reference in both parts of the sentence would agree. The timeline would be clear, and there would again be a clear suggestion of causality. The sentence would refer only to something happening in the past but could be used as an explanation of something in the present, such as "his current popularity." Pragmatically, it could be used in the same conversations as the first version, with only just a slightly different point of view. The former focuses on the present situation and its roots in the past, while the latter focuses on telling an interesting story about a past event that presumably effects the present.

"This after-dark 'safari' around the Cours Julien quarter has become popular after it was filmed and turned into an immersive online experience, one that anyone with access to Google Maps could follow at home."

This potential "mismatch" between the present perfect and "after" is more acceptable in this complex text than in the second one. It is clear that the writer wants to express an opinion about something currently relevant, which makes the reader expect the present perfect. Here the writer seems to be expressing a strong sense of intentional causality between the two clauses based on a past decision. That nuance may be better suited to using "after" than "since," in which the sense of the continuous time connection predominates. By using "after," the writer gives the reader the sense that the sentence is a condensed way of saying:

This after-dark 'safari' around the Cours Julien quarter has become popular. This increase in popularity started only after it was filmed and turned into an immersive online experience, one that anyone with access to Google Maps could follow at home."

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After doesn't work with perfect tenses.

One could say He became.....after...

Equally one wouldn't use since with the plain past tense.

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  • "This after-dark 'safari' around the Cours Julien quarter has become popular after it was filmed and turned into an immersive online experience, one that anyone with access to Google Maps could follow at home."
    – Nopeyes21
    Feb 8, 2022 at 9:15
  • A sentence from a published source. Is it incorrect?
    – Nopeyes21
    Feb 8, 2022 at 9:22
  • @Nopeyes21 This is an entirely different use of after - as part of a composite adjective. The question involved the adverbial sense.
    – WS2
    Feb 8, 2022 at 17:35

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