Eventually versus later on

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Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi teachers,
What's the difference between 'eventually' and 'later on'? Do they mean the same? Is 'eventually' more formal that 'later on' or it is what I wrote between parentheses?
Eventually, he switched on the radio. (After some time in the future)
Later on, he switched on the radio. (After a short time in the future)

Thanks in advance.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    In my book they are not interchangeable. When I say 'eventually', the whole thing is over. When I say 'later on', the thing is not over.
     

    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    In my book they are not interchangeable. When I say 'eventually', the whole thing is over. When I say 'later on', the thing is not over.
    Hi boozer,
    Thanks! Let's see if I understood it.
    So, because of 'later on' more actions could be possible at some time in the future and if I use 'eventually' they are not?

    TL
     

    mkeys

    Senior Member
    Bilingual - English (USA) & Hebrew
    What an interesting question! I never thought about it before.
    1) There is no difference in the formality
    2) There is no difference in "some time" vs. "short time." When you say "eventually," you are NOT specifying the time at all.

    There is a difference between the two, however, although it does not quite come out in this context (in this context the two are VERY close). All the same, when you say "eventually," you are implying (even if very slightly) that there was some delay. You are implying a LITTLE bit (very subtly) that he waited to switch on the radio. But when you say "later on" -- you are extremely neutral: just describing the facts. First this happened and then this happened.

    But here's another context where the difference is much more pronounced.

    1. Eventually, the sky will fall down.
    2. Later on, the sky will fall down. X

    #1 is a normal sentence, grammatically speaking. #2 does not quite work, except in very particular contexts (for example, if I am reading a book and I already read the ending, so I know that the sky will fall down at the end of the book).
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Later on he became the President of the US. - that was not the end of his career; possibly, after his office term he went on to other things; one of the implications is that his life went on somehow and his presidency is mentioned by the way (insofar as it is possible to mention something like this by the way)

    Eventually he became the President of the US. - the implication is that he realised a life-long dream and this was the final point, the apex of his career (well, it would be an apex in anyone's career :D ); his life went on beyond his office term but career-wise it was more or less over.
     
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    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi mkeys; boozer,
    Thanks a lot for your replies and detailed explanations!:)
    'Later on' or 'eventually' is simply after some amount of time, and we don't know how much time passed.

    TL
     
    Last edited:
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