Can You Start a Sentence With “After”?

Is it grammatically acceptable to start a sentence with "After"? This question stirs up a lot of debate among English enthusiasts, language scholars, teachers and students alike. Dive into this article to explore the pros and cons, the rules and myths, and finally, to discover our verdict on this contentious issue.

The Role of "After" in a Sentence

"After" is a versatile word in English grammar, playing the roles of both a preposition and a conjunction. As a preposition, it indicates that something happens following another event. As a conjunction, it connects two clauses, implying that one event happens subsequently to another. The term "after" conveys the sense of time and sequence in a sentence.

Instances Where Starting With "After" Works Well

Starting a sentence with "After" can be effective and grammatically correct, especially when indicating a sequence of events or creating a transition between ideas. The context and meaning of the sentence dictate whether it is suitable to start with "After". Let's examine five real-world examples:

Sentence Explanation
After the rain stopped, the sun shone brightly. "After" is used as a conjunction to connect two events chronologically.
After a long day at work, I enjoy relaxing with a good book. Here, "After" is a preposition indicating what occurs following a specific event.
After all, it's not such a big problem. "After" is used in a figurative sense, implying reconsideration of the statement.
After 10 years, they finally achieved their goal. "After" sets the time frame for the accomplishment.
After you left, everything changed. "After" connects two events in time, showing cause and effect.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

While "After" is generally a safe term to start a sentence with, there can be instances where its usage might lead to confusion or awkwardness. The key lies in ensuring the sentence maintains clarity and coherence. Here are examples of potentially problematic usage:

Sentence Explanation
After? Using "After" to start a question can be confusing without proper context.
After she was late. This sentence is incomplete and lacks a main clause.
After the party was a mess. The sentence is unclear about what happened after the party.
After his arrival was when things got interesting. This sentence is wordy and could be more directly stated.
After the movie, we had dinner and. The sentence is incomplete and leaves the reader hanging.

Tips for Using "After" at the Beginning of a Sentence

When using "After" to start your sentence, ensure that the sentence is complete and the meaning is clear. If "After" is a preposition in your sentence, it should be followed by a noun or a pronoun. If it's a conjunction, it should connect two complete thoughts.

  • Do make sure your sentence has both a subject and a predicate.
  • Don't let "After" lead to a fragment or a run-on sentence.
  • Do use "After" to create a clear sequence of events or ideas.
  • Don't use "After" to start a sentence when it leads to confusion.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

There are several misconceptions surrounding the use of "After" at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Myth: Starting a sentence with "After" is always incorrect. This is not true. As long as the sentence is complete and coherent, "After" can effectively start a sentence.
  • Misconception: "After" can only be used as a conjunction. In reality, "After" can be used as both a preposition and a conjunction.
  • Myth: "After" should always be followed by a verb. In fact, when "After" is used as a preposition, it can be followed by a noun or a pronoun.


In wrapping up, it is grammatically acceptable to start a sentence with "After" if used correctly. The key lies in ensuring that the sentence is complete and the meaning is clear. Using "After" at the start of a sentence can effectively set a chronological context or connect two related ideas. Remember, it's not about whether you can, but how you do it that matters.

Leave a Comment