I've come across the adverb 'later' in the past tense to refer to something that takes place at a time following an earlier time

e.g. "He resigned two months later"

I wonder if we can also use it in the future tense. I know we can use it alone in a sentence like "I'll talk to you later", but what about its use with a time scale in a sentence like, "He will resign two months later"

I've generally heard native speakers say something like this: "He will resign in two months"

Can we use them both to refer to the same thing, or does the former not make sense at all?

Thank you in advance

1 Answer 1


He will resign two months later is perfectly grammatical and idiomatic, but means "later than the (future or possible) events I am talking about". It would not be understood as "two months from now".

So The deal will be completed next May and he will resign two months later unambiguously says that he will resign in July.

Conversely "in two months" means "two months from now". The deal will be completed next May and he will resign in two months I would find confusing: I'd probably conclude that it meant he would resign in July, but I would not be sure.

  • What about using it alone in "I'll talk to you later"? It simply refers to a time in the future, from now, not a time after a specific event, right? Dec 9, 2014 at 11:50
  • 2
    Right. I'll see you later, talk to you later(adverb) meaning at some eventual time in the future. Later is a way to talk about time: some time after now. You can go to a movie 'later' tonight. Later can also mean more recent, as in "Which is the later movie, Gone with the Wind or Jurassic Park?". It can mean toward the end: “He made that movie later in his career.” It can also mean after, as in "You were later than I thought you'd be!" It can also be used in comparison: "He was late; I was later."
    – Misti
    Dec 9, 2014 at 12:13
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    Note that the same restriction applies to "after" and "before," which, when used with specific periods of time, do not refer to time "from now" but from a past or future point in time.
    – Rusty Tuba
    Dec 9, 2014 at 12:39
  • @Sharaman: you're right, but this is a different use. The question was about later with a specific period of time. I'll talk to you two months later is not idiomatic unless we are already talking about some event in the future. Mysti Sinha's other examples are all correct, but irrelevant to the question.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 10, 2014 at 12:51

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