Comparing "yihou" and "zhihou"
|This article is a stub. Editors can help the Chinese Grammar Wiki by expanding it.|
If you are trying to explain what you did after a certain event, you might want to use "以后" (yǐhòu) or "之后" (zhīhòu). After all, they do both mean "after," right? Well, it turns out that there are a few rules that you need to be aware of before you use them.
Both indicates another event happened after a special time. these two words share a structure, so it is easy to see how they would be easily confused. Here's the structure:
Subj. + Special Time + 以后／之后 + Verb
In situations where you have already done something and then after that you did something else, you can use "以后." The stipulation with this is that the time has to be explicitly said. That is, there has to be a time for "以后" to modify. Otherwise the sentence won't make sense.
- 下 过 雨 以后/ 之后 空气 会 好 很 多 。After it rains, the air will be a lot better.
- 结婚 以后/ 之后他们 有 了 两 个 宝宝 。 After getting married, they had two babies.
- 等 我 涨 工资 以后/ 之后请 你 吃饭 。 After I get a raise, I will treat you to a meal.
- 听到 这 个 消息 以后/ 之后 ，我 高兴 得 一 晚 上 没 睡 。 After I heard this news, I was so happy I couldn't sleep the whole night.
Now you might be thinking, "But 以后 means afterwards, why doesn't that work?" In this case, "以后" is just used to talk about the future in general. The meaning that you're probably thinking of comes from the first structure above.
- 以后 再 也 不 来 这里 吃饭 了 ， 又 贵 又 难吃 。 In the future I will never come to this place to eat again. It's expensive and the food is not good.
- 以后 我 可能 会 去 国外 上 大学 。 In the future I might go to college abroad.
- 以后 的 事情 以后 再 说 吧 。 We'll talk about future things some time later.
Compared to 以后, 之后 is a little more free. Not only can it happen in the same place, modifying the time, but it can also appear just on its own, meaning something along the lines of "then." While 以后 is dependent on the time, 之后 can stand by itself.
Event 1 ，之后 + Event 2
- 我 要 先 回家 把 东西 放 下 ，之后 去 咖啡店 找 你 。 I'm going to go home and drop my stuff off first, then go to the cafe to look for you.
- 去年 夏天 他 来 过 我 家 ，之后 再 也 没 见 过 他 。 Last summer, he came to my house. After that, I haven't seen him.
Right or Wrong
- 我 六 点 下班，以后，我 去 跟 朋友 吃饭。Since there is nothing that "以后" modifies, this sentence doesn't work.
- 我 六 点 下班，之后，我 去 跟 朋友 吃饭。"之后" works in this sentence.I will get off work at six o'clock, and after that I will meet with a friend to eat dinner.
- 昨天 我 跟 朋友 吃 完 饭以后去 了 酒吧。Yesterday, when my friends and I were done eating, we went to the bar.
- 昨天 我 跟 朋友 去 吃饭 了，以后，我们 去 酒吧。Again, since there is nothing for "以后" to modify, it's a bad sentence.
- 昨天 我 跟 朋友 去 吃饭 了，之后，我们 去 了 酒吧。"之后" works in this sentence.Yesterday I ate dinner with a friend, and afterward we went to a bar.
- After a specific time
- In the future in general
- Before and after with "zhiqian" and "zhihou"
- Comparing "yihou" and "houlai"