Nachher vs. DanachWhat's the Difference?

Ever find yourself puzzled over when to use 'nachher' and when 'danach' fits better in German? This post breaks down the subtle distinctions to help you use these time-related words more accurately.

Hello, young German enthusiasts! Today, we're going to unravel the mystery between two German words that often puzzle beginners: nachher and danach. You might have encountered these words and wondered, "Aren't they the same?" Well, let's dive into their meanings in a way that's easy to understand.

The Basic Difference

First off, it's important to know that both nachher and danach are related to time, and they both can be translated as "afterwards" or "after" in English. However, the way they are used in sentences can be a little different.

When to Use nachher

Think of nachher as a more general term for "later" or "afterward" when you're not specifying exactly what you're referring to. It's like saying "I'll do it later" without mentioning exactly what "it" is. For example:

  • Ich gehe nachher ins Kino. (I'm going to the cinema later.)

In this sentence, nachher simply tells us that going to the cinema will happen at a later time.

When to Use danach

Danach, on the other hand, is used when you're referring to something specific that was mentioned before. It's like saying "after that" in English. For example:

  • Ich mache meine Hausaufgaben, und danach lese ich ein Buch. (I'll do my homework, and after that, I'll read a book.)

Here, danach refers specifically to reading a book after doing homework.

Is There a Substantial Difference?

While both words deal with the concept of time and what comes after, the difference isn't huge but is still noteworthy. Danach is used for more specific sequences of events, while nachher is used more generally. So, yes, there is a subtle difference that can help you sound more natural and precise in your German conversations.

Examples to Clarify

Let's look at a few more examples to make it crystal clear:

  • Was machst du nachher? (What are you doing later?)
  • Ich esse zuerst zu Mittag, danach gehe ich einkaufen. (I'll first have lunch, then I'll go shopping after that.)

Notice how nachher is used when there's no specific previous action mentioned, and danach is used when the sequence of actions is clear.


So, there you have it! The difference between nachher and danach is all about specificity. Remember, nachher is your go-to for general "later" situations, and danach is perfect when you're talking about what happens next in a series of events. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be using these words like a pro!

Happy learning, and remember, every word you learn brings you one step closer to fluency in the beautiful German language!

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