Monday, 31 March 2014

Back to the Future: 3 years later VS in 3 years

Hi all,

What's your goal (目標)? One of my goals as a teacher (先生として) is to have all of my students at E-Style use the word "later" properly (適切に).

Many people who study English in Japan make the same mistake: With a time expression (時間表現), they use "later" when they should use "in" or "from now." The word "later" should be used when something starts and ends either in the past or future. Examples include the following:

  • In 1993, I moved from Miami to Shodoshima. Three years later (3年後), I moved to Takamatsu.
  • Next year, I'm going to move to Australia. Three years later (3年後), I'll move to New Zealand.

In either of the above examples, "after that" can be used instead of (の代わりに) "later."

Unfortunately (残念ながら),  many students use "later" when describing something that will happen after the present moment in time. A sentence like "The class will begin 10 minutes later." (授業は10分後始まります。) IS WRONG!

Instead of "later," please use either "in" or "from now." For example:

  • The class will start in 10 minutes (10分後).
  • My favorite TV program will begin 10 minutes from now (今から10分後)

See you later,


P.S. Because there is no time expression in the sentence, saying "See you later" is OK.