After your letter


I have a question about an example sentence in definition 8 for "after" in this dictionary:

After your letter, I didn't think I'd ever see you again.

Is a verb like "reading", missing between "after" and "your letter"?


Posted 2016-03-09T07:38:51.600

Reputation: 7 727

+1 a very good question. It is ambiguous. After what? After reading a letter? After taking a letter from someone? After looking at someone's letter? After tearing off the letter...what? :) – Maulik V – 2016-03-09T08:32:03.970

It might be ambiguous to a third party, but this is a quote from a personal conversation. It would probably be perfectly clear to both the speaker and the listener. – JavaLatte – 2016-03-09T11:14:24.243

It doesn't sound ambiguous to this native US English speaker. The reasonable, common interpretation would be "After I received (and presumably read) your letter". If you meant anything else, you would have to specifically say it, like "After you tore up your letter". – stangdon – 2016-03-09T16:00:47.060



It is not necessary but it makes a lot more sense and it's more specific. You could be even more specific by saying

After what you [said|wrote] in your letter...


Posted 2016-03-09T07:38:51.600

Reputation: 43 538

But doesn't "after" involves a point in time? A letter is just an object, not a point in time. "Reading a letter" refers to an action that has an end point in time. That's why I think "after your letter" should be replaced with "after *reading* your letter". – meatie – 2016-03-09T08:22:57.887

1@meatie, We can specify a point in time in many ways- some are more explicit than others. After dinner, after the game, after a few drinks. Sometimes, especially when talking about emotional matters, we don't want to spell it out. Maybe it should be replaced by "after reading your letter" if we want something that will stand up in court, but for an intimate conversation between two people who know exactly what the letter is, it's not necessary. – JavaLatte – 2016-03-09T11:24:36.607

So, that sentence from the dictionary probably came from an informal street talk? – meatie – 2016-03-09T19:45:01.673

@meatie, it's informal, but it's not street talk. It's the sort of language that normal people (educated or not) use when they speak to their friends and family, rather than the sort of thing you might write in an essay or dissertation. – JavaLatte – 2016-03-09T19:55:49.437