The Use of 'Despues' in Spanish

'After' or 'Later' Can Be an Adverb, Adjective or Preposition

Spain, Andalusia, Malaga Province, Marbella, Panorama
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The Spanish word después means "later" or "after" and can be used as a preposition, adverb, adjective, or prepositional object pronoun. The most common use of the word después is a preposition. The word always has an accent mark over the é.

Despues as a Preposition

Después is frequently used in the phrase después de, which functions as a preposition meaning "after." 

Spanish SentenceEnglish Translation
Llegamos después de la cena.We're arriving after dinner.
No sé qué sucede después de la muerte.I don't know what happens after death.
Después de la lluvia, empezó una tragedia.After the rain, a tragedy began.
Hay cinco cosas importantes a hacer después de instalar Windows.There are five important things to do after installing Windows.
Este libro cubre temas relacionados con la vida después del tratamiento.This book covers subjects related to life after treatment.
Me gusta el helado después de estudiar.I like ice cream after studying.

Despues as an Adverb

Después is a common adverb that can mean "after," "afterward," "later," "then" or "next."

Spanish SentenceEnglish Translation
Después fuimos a la jungla costarricense.Afterwards we went to the Costa Rican jungle.
No sé si voy a verte después.I don't know if I'll see you later.
¿Para qué lavarse los dientes si después voy a comer?Why should I brush my teeth if I'm going to eat later?
Bajé los videos para verlos después.I downloaded the videos in order to watch them later.

Despues as an Adjective

Después can also function as an invariable adjective, which means it has no plural or gender forms, to convey time periods.

Spanish SentenceEnglish Translation
Veinte días después, todo ha cambiado.Twenty days later, everything had changed.
Pienso en el día después.I'm thinking about the day afterward. (Alternate translation: I'm thinking about the next day.)

Despues as a Prepositional Object Pronoun

A prepositional pronoun is a special form of pronoun that is used as the object of a preposition.

English does not have distinct propositional forms of pronouns. Después is an object pronoun that can be used after the preposition  para, meaning "for."

For example, in the sentence, No quiero dejar las cosas para después," which means, "I don't want to leave things for afterward," the word "aftewards" serves as a prepositional pronoun in Spanish.

Common Figurative Uses of Despues

Some phrases use después in a figurative way; the expression differs slightly from the literal interpretation.

Spanish PhraseEnglish Translation
después de todoafter all
llegó después que yoshe arrived after me
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Erichsen, Gerald. "The Use of 'Despues' in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/using-despues-in-spanish-3079132. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, August 16). The Use of 'Despues' in Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/using-despues-in-spanish-3079132 Erichsen, Gerald. "The Use of 'Despues' in Spanish." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/using-despues-in-spanish-3079132 (accessed January 20, 2018).