Which of the following are correct?

  1. Will let you know in the afternoon.
  2. Will let you know afternoon.
  3. Will let you know after noon.

Will let you know in the afternoon.

This sentence is correct. The definite article defines which afternoon you're talking about, therefore there's nothing missing.

Will let you know afternoon.

Here the definition of which afternoon you have in mind is missing. Possible ways of correcting the sentence:

Will let you know [ this / tomorrow / next / Saturday ] afternoon.

And finally:

Will let you know after noon.

This sentence is technically correct, but the meaning is different. Afternoon is defined as the time from noon (12:00) to 18:00, whereas when you say after noon, you imply right after noon = right after 12:00. The time is limited closely to after 12:00. Similar to as when you say:

I will do this after lunch.

Here you say that after you finish eating your lunch, you will go on doing the promised thing. The same would apply to "after noon."

  • 1
    +1, nice that you discussed each sentence. Agree except that "after noon" does not in fact imply a short time period immediately after noon. That implication, when present, comes from context. A counterexample: I might say that you can pick up your order "after noon". This does not imply that you can only pick your order up shortly after noon. – MetaEd Jan 12 '12 at 15:00
  • 1
    @MetaEd: false analogy. Your order will be ready shortly after noon (if you care to pick it up then); the parallel would be "I will let you know by e-mail after noon", in which case you might not read the message till the evening, but I have still promised to send it before (say) 3 o'clock. – Tim Lymington Jan 12 '12 at 15:20
  • 2
    "After noon" is open ended. "Applications received after noon will not be processed" simply means that noon is the critical moment. It does not refer at all to a short time period. – MetaEd Jan 12 '12 at 16:06
  • 1
    @MetaEd: if you promised to do something after noon and you only did it at midnight (or indeed the next week), your grammar would be impeccable but your reputation would not be. – Tim Lymington Jan 13 '12 at 12:46
  • 1
    Which only proves my point. You can expect to preserve your reputation for only a short time. But you cannot expect your application to be refused for only a short time. At midnight, your reputation may be shot, but they still won't take your application. "After noon" is not where the implication of a short time resides. That implication is in the context. – MetaEd Jan 13 '12 at 15:18

1 & 3 are acceptable.

2 is incorrect because afternoon is not the object of the verb "know". For it to be grammatically correct, the meaning would have to be "I will teach you what afternoon is like." Therefore you need a preposition to specify the relationship between afternoon and the rest of the sentence.


Number two is incorrect.

Another common correct alternative is "this afternoon".

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