(After)having completed his work, he left his office. Is there any difference in meaning between with and without 'After' in the sentence


There is perhaps a slight difference in nuance.

"Having completed his work, he left the office", suggests that the work completion was necessary, in order that he might leave.

However "After having completed his work, he left the office", does not suggest as strong a connection between the two events. At least that is the way the senses of the two sentences differ to my (UK) ear. But it is a very fine distinction and I would be interested to hear other opinions.

  • Perhaps adding 'after' is an attempt at de-starchification. I'd say that 'When he'd finished his work, he left the office' / 'He finished his work and then left the office / then he left the office' are far more idiomatic nowadays. – Edwin Ashworth May 27 '19 at 12:18
  • @EdwinAshworth But wouldn't you agree that simply "Having completed his work he left..." implies that the completing of the work was necessary to his being able to leave, or perhaps since he had completed his work, there was no longer any reason to stay. It suggests to me there is a connection between the two things. – WS2 May 27 '19 at 14:26
  • There's a faint connotation in my mind. But connotation is partly of necessity subjective. – Edwin Ashworth May 27 '19 at 16:02
  • WS2, I agree about the two possible implications outlined in your last comment. Without further context we can't tell which applies. If we knew that he had left later then usual we could assume he couldn't or didn't want to leave until finished; if we knew he had left early we might assume there was no reason to stay. – nnnnnn Jan 22 '20 at 14:33

The descriptor After is generally considered a notation of time. "After having" is a bit redundant in that specific sentence, and would generally be considered unnecessary considering the context. Usage with the word after would likely be, "After completing his work, he left his office."

If you choose to use "After" in the sentence, it generally implies there were other things that the subject in question had to consider before his work was able to be completed. So while there is a difference, it is a very slight one.

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