Can You Start a Sentence With “After”?

You can start sentences with the word “after” in formal and informal writing. The term “after” sometimes continues an idea from the previous sentence, and sometimes it stands alone. E.g., “After leaving school, he became a police officer.” or “They had dinner. After, they walked along the beach.”

The word “after” appears commonly in formal and academic writing, and you can use it in several ways.

Firstly, you can use “after” to begin sentences that make sense by themselves and do not rely on the previous sentence.

  • After seeing the evidence with my own eyes, I was sure he was guilty.

Alternatively, you can use “after” to continue from what you mentioned in the previous sentence.

In these cases, you can use the word by itself or extend it into one of the following phrases instead:

  • He studied veterinary science. After that, he went to work on a wildlife reserve.
  • We are going on a hiking tour next week. Afterward, we plan to relax on the beach for a few days.
  • I am attending a conference next weekend in Miami. After which, I fly home to Denver on Tuesday.

These three terms are all dependent. Therefore, you cannot start a sentence with them unless there is previous information or events that they refer back to.

Now that we have covered the basics of using “after” at the beginning of a sentence, please keep reading to see how you can include “after” in formal writing and essays.

Can You Start a Sentence With “After” in Formal Writing?

You can start sentences with “after” in essays and formal writing, and there is no dispute over its formality.

People commonly use it to describe stages in processes or chronological events.

You can use it by itself in sentences that make sense by themselves. As shown in these examples:

  • After analyzing the results, we compared them to those from previous experiments.
  • After applying for migratory status, applicants are reminded they have no recourse to public funds.

Furthermore, you can use “after” to refer to the events you mentioned in the sentence before.

To do this, you can use terms such as:

  • After which
  • After that
  • Afterward

The above terms cannot start a sentence unless there is an event in the previous to which they refer.

Here are some examples:

  • The caribou spend several months migrating. After that, they settle into their new habitat until autumn.
  • They will carry out the first experiment of its kind this week. After which, we will learn more about quantum tunneling.
  • The Holy Roman Empire came to an end in 1806. Afterward, Napoleon rose to power in the region.

If you prefer to use a synonym instead of “after,” you could choose from one of the following more formal equivalents:

  • Following
  • Posterior to
  • Subsequently

Can You Start a Sentence With “After” in Informal Writing?

You can start sentences with “after” in informal writing, which is typical.

Likewise, people use “after” in informal emails and conversational messaging.

You use “after” to describe sequences of events and what happens in the time when one thing finishes.

  • After the annual meeting, we are heading out for our staff meal to celebrate a great year.

Furthermore, you can use it to describe how something is in the period “after” something has happened.

  • After spending a week in the sun, I don’t want to return to a cold climate.

You can also use “after” with words like “that,” “which,” and “all” to refer to something in the previous sentence.

  • We all met up for lunch yesterday. After that, we went to a BBQ by the lake.
  • I did an evening course last week. After which, I felt exhausted.
  • I love her a lot despite our problems. After all, we are sisters, so I will always love her.