Après vs Derrière

French prepositions

Derrière vs après
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The prepositions après and derrière have somewhat similar meanings, which of course means that students sometimes get them confused. Learn the difference between après and derrière to put all of this confusion behind you.


Après means "after" in terms of time or a sequence of events. It can be used with expressions of time, nouns, and stressed pronouns.

Par exemple…

après 10h after 10 o’clock
après jeudi after Thursday
après la réunion after the meeting
après une réprimande after a scolding
après toi after you

Après can also be used with several verb tenses.

1) past infinitive

après avoir eu des enfants after having had kids
après m’être réveillé after having woken up

2) que + passé composé

après que j’ai eu des enfants after I had kids
après que je me suis réveillé after I woke up

3) que + present tense

To talk about something that happens habitually.

Je mange après que tu pars.  I eat after you leave.
Elle lave la voiture après qu’il pleut. She washes the car after it rains.

4) que + future / future perfect

When talking about something that will happen in the future, French requires the future or future perfect, even though the English equivalent is the present tense.

Par exemple…

après que j’aurai des enfants after I have kids
après que je me serai réveillé after I’ve woken up

 Après que does not take the subjunctive.

 Antonym: avant


Derrière means "behind" and indicates a position or location, whether literal or figurative. It’s used only with nouns and stressed pronouns.

Par exemple…

derrière le restaurant behind the restaurant
derrière mon dos behind my back
derrière un arbre behind a tree
Il veux s’asseoir derrière nous. He wants to sit behind us.
Courage, je suis derrière toi ! Take heart, I’m behind you!

 Antonym: devant

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Après vs derrière

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