after all


Senior Member
"After all" has a sense of "despite everything". I do not know how to use it. Could you give me some UNacceptable senetences using "after all"?

  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Well, "after all" can also be used as "in the end," which is not quite the same as "despite everything."
    Coming up with a question in which "in the end" is incorrect is a big challenge.


    Senior Member
    español (España)

    Could it be something like:

    He's hurt me a lot, but after all I love him.
    He's hurt me a lot, but I love him after all.
    (but despite everything, I love him)

    I spent a lot of money, but after all, I'm happy!
    I spent a lot of money but I'm happy after all!

    I don't know... What do you think, bibliolept?

    Saludos :)


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    In the first pair, this meaning of "after all" might be more clear if you do separate it with commas. This is a very subtle distinction though, and different readers may disagree.
    The second sentence is problematic because spending a lot of money is not an absolutely negative thing as "hurt me a lot."
    Perhaps if you said "I had to spend a lot" or "I was forced to spend a lot."

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think YaniraTfe's examples of "after all" are too literal, and this isn't really how the phrase is used.

    It has two meanings, one is "despite all indications to the contrary": "I didn't miss the plane after all! (Although I was very late, and I was sure I had missed it, the plane was delayed by two hours)". A misuse of that would be to say "I got up an hour late, missed the train to the airport, and there was no chance of me catching the plane, and I missed it after all."

    And the other is: "when everything is considered" or as M-W puts it "in view of all the circumstances". I think it is very difficult to come up with a misuse of that, as bibliolept says. Here is an example: "I didn't manage to get everything done today, I'm only human after all". This is similar to "when all is said and done", "when it comes down to it", etc.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I don't use "after all" to mean 'despite everything". I would use it to mean "when everything is considered":

    I don't know why you are surprised that I can speak Chinese. I was, after all, born in Hong Kong, and lived there until I was twelve.

    Twenty years ago, when John was in the Senate, his son Tom did not show much interest in politics, but now I see that Tom has become very involved in his party's politics and is running for office. It looks like Tom is his father's son after all.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Certainly you aren't suggesting that this is necessarily the most common AE usage?
    I think it is one of the more common ones. I suspect the most common one is as part of the expression "after all is said and done".

    I agree with Mole that it is used to mean "despite indications to the contrary." I do not think it is at all common, though, to use the phrase to mean "despite everything", which is a different concept.
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