Is it correct to end a sentence with "in the following" to indicate that there will be something in the next paragraph?

e.g. "In Figure 1 there is an example that we describe in the following.", and then a new paragraph starts with "Example 1. Description of the example..."

Or is it better to re-arrange the sentence to say "...in the following example."?

  • 1
    See What is the correct punctuation after "as follows"? as asked on ELU. But personally I'm not convinced an example that we describe in the following is syntactically valid anyway. Change it to either ...in the following example as per your own suggestion, or ...that we describe as follows. Commented May 16, 2022 at 12:12
  • Or say in the following paragraph?
    – mdewey
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


"Following" in this context is an adjective, so there must be a noun for it to operate on. Ideally then, you should qualify what you mean and say "the following example", or "the following paragraph".

It would also be a little strange for a paragraph in a text to refer to "the following paragraph". It just seems superfluous - like a speaker saying "I will tell you what I mean in the next sentence".

Even stranger is referring to the figure before you discuss it. It would be more common to refer to the figure within the section of text that deals with it.

Some words can be omitted if they are implied or tacitly understood. So a person might say something like "watch the following" if they gestured towards a screen where something was to be viewed, and maybe if there was no need to specify what the content would be (eg an experience, a demonstration etc) or the type of media (eg a film, an excerpt etc).

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