What's the difference between the two?

Later the doctors found out that my case was a bit different.

Later on the doctors found out that my case was a bit different.

Is one more common than the other?

  • 1
    you'd only use the first one, I'd say. "later on" is more of a colloquial expression, used in speech.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 3:54
  • I don't agree with the two answers or with Joe's comment, above (sorry, Joe!). The two constructions have different shades of meaning and are used deliberately in specific situations. Unfortunately that's about all I can offer: at the moment I can't quite put into words what the specific difference is, and can only observe that later on is usually used when reference is made to some third, extraneous event.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 13:05

3 Answers 3


"later" and "later on" have the same meaning. Sometimes "later on" is preferred because it has another, smoother rhythmical flow. You can consider "later on" as just a variant for "later".

  1. "Later" is definitely more formal than "Later on"
  2. According to me the "on" is just a filler to make the sentence smoother.

    For Example- Many times we use "in order to", even though "to" is sufficient.


"Later on" is more informal than just plain "later."

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