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Given the following sentence, in the context of a video about flying a plane:

The heading remained unchanged prior to 02:50

Reversing the meaning of this:

The heading remained unchanged after 02:50

Is there another word you can use other than "after"?

Aside: this is possibly a bad example, since "after" isn't a bad fit in that sentence.

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Could you please give an example where after is a poor fit so that people know what you're looking for? –  Bradd Szonye Apr 18 at 3:21

5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It depends what nuance of temporal meaning you are trying to convey.

I think "subsequent" is the best antonym for "prior"

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How about "past?"

The heading remained unchanged past 02:50.

If the situation remains unchanged past 2014 or 2015...

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How about posterior to? That would be the most bureaucratese antonym to the bureaucratese prior to.

As Theodore Bernstein once pointed out, one should feel free to use prior to instead of before only if one is accustomed to using posterior to for after.

Garner, Modern American Usage

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subsequent (to), posterior (to), or just after are the best choices, or rephrase to use a different pair of antonyms.

The etymological antonym of prior is ulterior (from Latin), and it used to be used as such, but this is now rare to non-existent. Compare primate/ultimate for “first/last”, and you also hear echos of this is in pro-/proto- (Ancient Greek) vs. ultra- (Latin).

Your choices are either to use another antonym (which doesn’t pair as well), or change both words. before/after, (up) to/from, and earlier than/later than are Germanic, while precedent (to)/subsequent (to), anterior (to)/posterior (to) are Latinate, but in these pairs the term meaning “before” is very formal.

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