After: a very tricky word


Sometimes grown-ups don’t understand how tricky some words are. We think a child understands the tricky word after when he understands that after nap comes snack. But that is only the time meaning. When after is used with numbers, two comes after one, then after means a higher value. Two means more than one. When Johnny is supposed to line up after Harriet, after is a place in space. So, the tricky after word can mean three different things: time, quantity, and space. No wonder every child needs to hear us adults say the word after hundreds of times before they can begin to understand the word.


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