Sometimes I hear someone speaking "after" and sometimes "afterwards", what is the difference between these words?
I'm not a native speaker. Feel free to correct my mistakes.
According to article in English Grammar Today:
aftercan be used as preposition:
I will meet her after dinner.
I will meet her afterwards dinner.
aftercan be used as conjunction:
I will meet her after she finishes her work.
I will meet her afterwards she finishes her work.
afterwardscan be used as adverb:
afterwardscan be precised by exact (
3 years after/afterwards,
2 days after/afterwards) or inexact (
ever after/afterwards) time period specification:
I payed all my debts and left the city three days after.
I payed all my debts. Three days afterwards I left the city.
- I'm not sure if
aftercan be used as adverb when having no dependent words.
Afterwardsis widely used in this case:
??? I cut the chicken and I washed my hands after. ???
I cut the chicken and afterwards I washed my hands.
After(when used as adverb) has to be put in the end. While, according to topic in WordReference Forum,
afterwardsis usually put before clause/phrase it relates to, it can also be put in the end to make special emphasis:
I cut the chicken and washed my hands three minutes after.
I cut the chicken and three minutes afterwards I washed my hands.
— Did you wash your hands before touching the chicken?
— No, I cut the chicken and washed my hands afterwards.