Chinese Grammar: Lesson 后来 vs 然后
Lupishu’s proud of the progress he’s been making and loves retelling the events in his life, especially the milestones he’s reached so far. But, he’s a little confused. To say “after”, he has two-time words in mind: 后来 (hòu lái) and 然后 (rán hòu), and he’s not sure when he should use which. That’s understandable: 后来 and 然后 can seem very close. They both mean “after, afterward”, so it’s not easy to figure out the difference between the two at first.
后来 for events in the past
后来 is a time word to describe things that happened in the past, which has a certain outcome at present. It means “afterward” and is used to talk about the consequences and outcome of an event in the past.
Something, 后来, Outcome
然后 to describe a sequence of actions
然后 is to used to describe something that will happen next. It always follows a previous event. You do one thing first and then do another with 然后. It is used a lot to show the passing of time, and you’ll often run into texts describing a sequence of events, like a story, or instructions... In English, 然后 is similar to (first...) then... and in fact, you’ll often run into it in Chinese in combination with 先 (xiān, first) in a sentence.
Event 1, 然后 + Event 2
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