Usually we say like : I came in the morning, We are going in the evening, It happened at night etc.

If something happens around 12.00 PM, then we can also say: I had lunch at noon.

But I have heard people say: I am going in the afternoon. Actually afternoon means some time after 12.00 PM. So why not "I am going after noon." ?

Hope you got my logic.

  • I'd say that 12:00 pm is used much less than 'noon' or 'midday' (and 12:00 am less than 'midnight') nowadays; it never made sense, and people found it hard to remember the convention. Apr 29, 2015 at 6:37
  • related: At Night or In the Night?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 29, 2015 at 8:46
  • 1
    The noun afternoon is not synonymous with the prepositional phrase after noon. Just look in the dictionary.
    – Barmar
    May 1, 2015 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


After noon is quite vague. Assuming the context of the 24-hour day, it could mean any time in the day after 12:00 pm, whether that means 12:30, 3:00, or 7:00.

EDIT: As Edwin Ashworth pointed out, informally, after noon probably means a short while after 12:00 pm, maybe within the hour. However, if Joe says "I'll pick you up after noon" without specifying the upper bound on the time, it's still a very vague phrase. I would avoid concluding anything from such an interaction without further clarification, unless you want to butt heads about semantics when Joe shows up at 3:00 and says "hey, I wasn't lying!"

Afternoon is a noun that is defined as a specific time period. (TFD: The part of day from noon until dinnertime or sunset.) After afternoon, there is evening, and after that, there is night, both of which occur after 12:00 pm, but are separately defined time periods.

In essence, afternoon is after noon, but just because it is after noon does not mean it is afternoon.

  • In most informal circumstances, 'after noon' or more commonly 'after 12' would be taken to mean 'not too long after 12 o'clock'. Apr 29, 2015 at 6:39
  • Yeah, when I wrote my answer, I had in mind people like fathers working overtime, repairmen from questionable cable companies, and new lovers who promised to call, so you're right. Apr 29, 2015 at 6:52

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