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After all

In spite of what was said before' or ‘contrary to what was expected’[edit | edit source]

After all can mean 'in spite of what was said before' or ‘contrary to what was expected’. Position: usually at the end of a clause. 


  • I’m sorry. I know I said I would help you, but I can't after all.
  • I expected to fail the exam, but I passed after all. 

We mustn't forget that[edit | edit source]

Another meaning is ‘we mustn't forget that', introducing an argument or reason which may have been forgotten.

Position: at the beginning or end of a clause.  


  • Of course you’re tired. After all, you were up all night.
  • Let's finish the cake. Somebody's got to eat it, after all.

"After all" should not be used in the exchange for 'finally'[edit | edit source]

After all does not mean 'finally', 'at last’, ‘in the end’. 


  • After the theatre we had supper and went to a nightclub; then we finally went home, (not . . . after all we went home)

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