The following is the paragraph which the word "retrospectively" is used. I meant to say something like " the government has learnt from the past events, and as a result, have implemented these measures. " Can the word "Retrospectively" be used to represent what I am trying to convey ?

This recent Avian Flu outbreak will definitely bring to mind a similar scenario that occurred five years ago. In 2009, the Swine Flu outbreak resulted in 120,000 people being infected and 648 deaths in our country. The government has retrospectively implemented measures to further enhance our readiness to combat such disease outbreaks occurring in the country.

  • No. I think you're looking for retroactively. Retrospect is synonymous with hindsight. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:57
  • But isn't the intent of the passage that the govt has done this in hindsight of the previous outbreak?
    – Å Stuart
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:59
  • From what I understand, "Retroactively" refers to something happenining now that affects something in the past right ? Hmm. Yes @AshStuart is correct.
    – iridescent
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 18:06
  • ok, have written this out as a formal answer below, so you can give it a vote :-)
    – Å Stuart
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


None of the words related to acting in the past are appropriate here (retroactive, retrospective, hindsight). The situation is cause and effect: previous epidemics caused the current policies. Better to go with a simple "since" or related word or phrase: "The government has since implemented measures ..."


You might use some fancy Latin, like post hoc which means after the fact. There is retroactively which is changing past actions (after they occur). You might write it as "the government has responded by implementing", or "the government reacted by implementing" or "the government's response was to".


Retrospectively is not appropriate in this situation.

looking back on or dealing with past events or situations


(of a statute or legal decision) taking effect from a date in the past

The government's actions are not dealing with something in the past, but rather something in the future. They may be doing so based on a thorough retrospective analysis of the previous problem, but their current action is prospective

likely to happen at a future date; concerned with or applying to the future

Similarly, retroactive (as suggested in some comments) is also not appropriate

taking effect from a date in the past

If they now granted relief to people who suffered then, that would be retroactive.

You might consider

In light of this (or therefor, so, for that reason, etc.), the government has implemented measures to further enhance our readiness to combat such disease outbreaks occurring in the country.

  • "In light of this" sacrifices clarity for no purpose at all. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 19:33
  • @kevincline How about in response? While the contrast between past and future is obvious, the causality should be pointed out.
    – bib
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 19:38
  • IMO "In response" is fine, but "In light of this" is metaphorical, and implies that new evidence has appeared, e.g. a cache of records, a fossil, a scientific discovery. So here I feel that "in light of this" is both verbose and inapt. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 21:08

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