Chinese Grammar: Lesson: 后来 vs. 然后
Lupishu is 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 and 然后, 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. They are two very different words, however, so let’s see on what occasions you should be using each! That way, after, you and Lupishu can easily pick when you want to say 后来 or 然后!
后来 for events in the past
后来 is a time word to describe things that happened in the past, which has a particular outcome at present. It means “afterward” and is used to talk about the consequences and issue of an event in the past.
后来 is not used directly following an event but is related to its consequence and outcome.
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 it in 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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