1. After means later than or following.
Pattern 1: be + after + noun
The reception is after the wedding ceremony.
Pattern 2: after + gerund form of verb + noun
After finishing your homework, you can watch television.
Pattern 3: after (conjunction) + subject noun + verb
After you finish your homework, you can watch television.
Pattern 4: verb + after (conjunction) + subject noun + verb
The boss left after I came in.
2. After can mean lower in value or rank.
That school's athletes placed after ours in the playoffs.
3. After can mean in pursuit of.
Pattern: verb + after + noun
The cat ran after the mouse.
Verbs often used before after:
be, come, go, run
4. After can mean because of.
Pattern: adjective . . . + after + noun
He was mad at her after her behavior at the party.
Typical nouns used after after:
attitude, behavior, failure, kindness, manners, outburst, reaction, success
5. After can mean in spite of.
Pattern: after + verb in gerund form
They never got married, after dating for years.
After reading this article three times, I still don't understand it.
6. After can mean in the style of.
Pattern: noun + after + noun
The school play was a drama after Shakespeare.
7. After can indicate continuously.
Pattern: time period + after + same time period
The man waited night after night for his telephone to ring.
Life got harder year after year.
His mother told him time after time to clean up his room.
Nouns often used with this meaning:
day, hour, month, night, time, week, year
1. in spite of what happened; nevertheless
Our best player got hurt in the first quarter, but we played hard and won the game after all.
2. as a justification
Of course I am tired; after all, I have been working for twelve hours.
after all is said and done—eventually
I know you feel bad now, but you will be glad about this after all is said and done.
after one's own heart—especially appreciated
Her mother always serves us chocolate cake; she is a woman after my own heart.
9. Phrasal verbs
look after (nonseparable)—take care of something or somebody
She looks after our baby on weekends.
take after (nonseparable)—be similar to an older relative
The baby takes after his father.
to name after (separable)—give a baby the name of someone special
They named the baby after his grandfather.