Master the Sign for After in Sign Language: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever wondered about the sign for ‘after’ in sign language? This important concept plays a vital role in visually and expressively conveying the idea of time and sequence. It enables sign language learners, teachers, parents of deaf children, and members of the deaf community to effectively communicate and understand the concept of ‘after’. So, let’s explore the details of this sign, including its unique handshape, movement, and placement, to ensure that we grasp and use it correctly. By developing a solid understanding of this sign, we can improve our communication skills and promote inclusivity within the deaf community. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together!

After in Sign Language

How to Sign After in Sign Language ASL

To sign “after,” start by placing your non-dominant hand flat in front of you, palm down. Next, use your dominant hand, with an open palm and extended fingers, to slide it once along the side of your pinkie finger, over and across the non-dominant hand in a smooth motion. As you make this sign, imagine driving a car down a street, starting at one end and gradually reaching the other end after a certain period. Visualize the car’s movement, the scenery passing by, and the anticipation of reaching your destination.

Please Note that the sign for “after” is different from the sign for “wood,” where the dominant hand mimics the action of sawing wood repeatedly. By providing these details, you can better understand and execute the sign for “after.” So take your time, immerse yourself in this visual journey, and bring the sign for “after” to life in your hands.

Understanding the Sign for After in  Sign Language

To accurately convey the concept of ‘after’ in sign language, it’s important to focus on several key elements. Let’s explore each of them in detail:

  • Handshape: The handshape used for the dominant hand is an open palm with extended fingers, representing movement and progression. The non-dominant hand is flat with the palm facing down, creating a foundation and sense of stability.
  • Movement: A smooth linear movement from one end to the other signifies the idea of moving forward in time. This movement mimics the action of a car driving down a street, as mentioned earlier.
  • Placement: The sign is made in front of the body, with both hands visible to the viewer. The non-dominant hand acts as a base or foundation for the dominant hand’s movement and should remain stationary throughout the sign.
  • Meaning: The sign for ‘after’ conveys the idea of time and sequence, representing something that comes after another event or action.

Application in Everyday Conversations

Now that we have covered the fundamentals, let’s explore how the sign for ‘after’ can be effectively used in everyday conversations. Imagine yourself in a lively discussion where you describe a sequence of events, plan your day, or recount a historical timeline. The versatile sign for ‘after’ allows you to visually indicate the order in which these events unfold, creating an immersive experience for your conversation partners.

For example, picture yourself signing the following sentence: “Yesterday, as the sun peeked over the horizon, I woke up, enjoyed breakfast, and after that, went for a walk in nature.” This simple application of the sign ‘after’ conveys the chronological nature of the activities, enhancing clarity and accuracy in your communication.

Tips for Learning the Sign for ‘After’ in Sign Language

  • Use Repetition: Practice the sign for ‘after’ multiple times to reinforce muscle memory and improve accuracy.
  • Break it Bown: If you’re struggling with a specific part of the sign, break it down into smaller components and focus on mastering each one individually before putting it all together.
  • Record Yourself: Record yourself while practicing the sign and review the footage to identify any areas for improvement. This can help you identify any subtle mistakes or areas where you can make adjustments.
  • Practice in Front of a Mirror: Stand in front of a mirror while practicing the sign to observe your hand movements and ensure they are clear and precise.
  • Join a Sign Language Community: Engage with others who are learning sign language or fluent signers. This can provide valuable opportunities for practice, feedback, and learning from others’ experiences.
  • Be Patient and Persistent: Learning any new skill takes time and effort. Stay motivated, be patient with yourself, and keep practicing consistently to see progress over time.


Is the sign for ‘after’ different from other signs?

The concept of sequence and time can also be conveyed through other signs, such as ‘next’ or ‘later.’ However, each sign has its unique handshape and movement to accurately represent its meaning.

Do all sign language communities use the same sign for ‘after’?

Different countries may have variations in their sign language, just like spoken languages. If you are unsure about the sign for ‘after’ within a specific community, it’s always best to ask and confirm with a fluent signer.

Can I incorporate my style into the sign for ‘after’?

Yes, just as with any other language or skill, individuals may have slight variations in their signing style. As long as the key elements of the sign for ‘after’ are maintained, there is room for personalization and expression within your signing.  So let your creativity flow and make it your own!


We’ve journeyed through the intricacies of the sign for ‘after’ in sign language, appreciating its role in illustrating sequence and time. You’ve discovered the unique handshape, movement, and placement that bring this sign to life. Apply these insights to your daily conversations, and watch as your communication becomes more vivid and comprehensive. Keep practicing, and keep learning remember, you’re well on your way to becoming a proficient signer. Each sign you master brings you closer to this goal.

Leave a Comment