Using antes de que/después de que with indicative or subjunctive (subordinate time clauses)

Antes de que and después de que are the two most commonly-used conjunctions if we want to use a subordinate clause to express "before doing something" or "after doing something".

Antes (de) que...

Antes de que and Antes que are always followed by the subjunctive. For example:

Debo terminar esta redacción antes de que sean las diez.
I must finish this essay before [it is] ten.

Antes que digas nada, yo no tuve la culpa.
Before you say anything, it wasn't my fault.

Siempre hago una compra online antes de que mi frigorífico se vacíe.
I always do my [food] shopping online before my fridge gets empty.

Antes de que/Antes que does not admit the indicative. This would be incorrect:

Debo terminar esta redacción antes de que son las diez.

Después (de) que...

Después de que/Después que can be followed by both the indicative and the subjunctive depending on when the event takes place.

  • If it refers to a present event, we can only use the indicative.

For example:

Después de que Laura termina su clase de baile, su padre la recoge en el coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad picks her up in his car.

  • If it refers to a past event we can use both, the indicative or the subjunctive. Using one or the other does not change the meaning.

For example:

Después que su madre se lo prohibió, ella fue al concierto.
After her mum banned (her from going), she went to the concert.

Después de que su madre se lo prohibiera, ella fue al concierto.
After her mum banned (her from going), she went to the concert.

Después de que su madre se lo había prohibido ella fue al concierto.
After her mum had banned her (from going) she went to the concert.

Después que su madre se lo hubiera prohibido ella fue al concierto.
After her mum had banned her (from going) she went to the concert.

  • If it refers to a future event we can only use the subjunctive.

Look at these correct and incorrect examples:

Después de que Laura termine su clase de baile, su padre la recogerá en su coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad will pick her up in his car.

Después de que Laura termina su clase de baile, su padre la recogerá en su coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad picks her up in his car.

Saldremos a dar un paseo después de que hayas hecho tus deberes.
We will go for a walk after you've finished your homework.

Saldremos a dar un paseo después de que has hecho tus deberes.
We will go for a walk after you've done your homework.

Apagaré la luz después de que te duermas.
I will switch the light off after you fall asleep.

Apagaré la luz después de que te duermes.
I will switch off the light after you fall asleep.

Notice how the verb in the main clause is in the future. 

Bear in mind that in spoken Spanish the use of these structures using the infinitive or the perfect infinitive (without "que") is more common:

Antes de + infinitive/perfect infinitive

Después de + infinitive/perfect infinitive

For example:

Antes de empezar a bailar, había bebido mucho.
Before starting to dance/before I started to dance, I had a lot to drink.

Antes de haber empezado a bailar, había bebido mucho.
Before having started to dance/before I had started to dance, I had a lot to drink.

Después de obtener los resultados de los exámenes, se irá de viaje.
After receiving/after she receives her exam results, she will go on a trip.

Después de haber obtenido los resultados de los exámenes, se irá de viaje.
After having received her exam results, she will go on a trip.

 See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Después que su madre se lo hubiera prohibido ella fue al concierto.
After her mum had banned her (from going) she went to the concert.


Apagaré la luz después de que te duermas.
I will switch the light off after you fall asleep.


Después de obtener los resultados de los exámenes, se irá de viaje.
After receiving/after she receives her exam results, she will go on a trip.


Después que su madre se lo prohibió, ella fue al concierto.
After her mum banned (her from going), she went to the concert.


Antes de haber empezado a bailar, había bebido mucho.
Before having started to dance/before I had started to dance, I had a lot to drink.


Saldremos a dar un paseo después de que hayas hecho tus deberes.
We will go for a walk after you've finished your homework.


Saldremos a dar un paseo después de que has hecho tus deberes.
We'll go for a walk after you've finished your homework.


Antes que digas nada, yo no tuve la culpa.
Before you say anything, it wasn't my fault.


Siempre hago una compra online antes de que mi frigorífico se vacíe.
I always do my [food] shopping online before my fridge gets empty.


Después de que Laura termina su clase de baile, su padre la recoge en el coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad picks her up in his car.


Apagaré la luz después de que te duermes.
I will switch the light off after you fall asleep.


Después de que su madre se lo había prohibido ella fue al concierto.
After her mum had banned her (from going) she went to the concert.


Después de que Laura termina su clase de baile, su padre la recogerá en su coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad will pick her up in his car.


Después de que su madre se lo prohibiera, ella fue al concierto.
After her mum banned (her from going), she went to the concert.


Debo terminar esta redacción antes de que sean las diez.
I must finish this essay before [it is] ten.


Después de que Laura termine su clase de baile, su padre la recogerá en su coche.
After Laura finishes her dance class, her dad will pick her up in his car.


Antes de empezar a bailar, había bebido mucho.
Before starting to dance/before I started to dance, I had a lot to drink.


Después de haber obtenido los resultados de los exámenes, se irá de viaje.
After having received her exam results, she will go on a trip.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 8 answers

EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Could algo be used instead of nada in the second sentence? Antes que digas nada...

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Emanuel

Yes, here:

Antes que digas nada, yo no tuve la culpa.

Before you say anything, it wasn't my fault.

You could also say "Antes que digas algo"

However, it sounds better to use nada here. Although there is no negative element at the beginning of the sentence, in this case, the negative "nada" is reinforcing the negativity, as if we said: 

"No digas nada; yo no tuve la culpa." 

I hope this helps,

Saludos,

Inma

Could algo be used instead of nada in the second sentence? Antes que digas nada...

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HansC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is this kwizz answer correct? Antes de recibir Ana los regalos ella sopló las velas

One of the questions is: .(fill in)....los regalos ella sopló las velas. One of the correct answers is "Antes de recibir Ana". De complete sentence sounds odd to me, is it correct?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Hans

We do use this structure in a more colloquial Spanish. This is mentioned in the lesson.

Antes de recibir Ana los regalos, ella sopló las velas.

Antes de que Ana recibiera los regalos, ella sopló las velas.

They are both equally correct.

Un saludo

Inma

 

 

HansC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for answering my question, so it is correct spanish and it is colloquial.

I couldn't found it in the lesson(s) however, and i looked in both lessons, one with antes de, and  one with antes de que. It is about the order of the words: the place of Ana in Antes de recibir Ana.

But ok, i will have to get accustomed to it. Thanks

Is this kwizz answer correct? Antes de recibir Ana los regalos ella sopló las velas

One of the questions is: .(fill in)....los regalos ella sopló las velas. One of the correct answers is "Antes de recibir Ana". De complete sentence sounds odd to me, is it correct?

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KarenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I’m struggling to get full marks on this for some reason - I seem to be stuck on 98.8 no matter how often I answer the questions correctly.

I have answered all the questions correctly and now I am going round in circles just answering the same questions  repeatedly, but my score stays at 98.8 and will not increase. The only mistakes I have made have been through tiredness and in ways irrelevant to the actual topic, by not spotting the lack of the reflexive pronoun for ‘dormir’ in one of the answers!  I am finding this very frustrating and I wonder if  perhaps there was another question now deleted which I had an imperfect score on, and now can’t perfect, or something like that. 

Asked 8 months ago
ShuiKwiziq team member

Hola Karen

Just so you know I've asked someone to look into this and we will be getting back to you!

Saludos

Shui

KarenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks - this is now the only topic I haven’t completed at the B2 level and I would like to get my rewards!

KarenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I’m not sure if this is something you have done but my score has now reduced Tom 98.8 to 98.5 without me getting any answers wrong or omitting any questions!

KarenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I now seem to have a similar issue with the topic ‘

Using ya with El Preterito Pluscuamperfecto’

Which seems to be stuck on 98.2.

GruffKwiziq team member

This should be fixed now. Thanks for letting us know!

I’m struggling to get full marks on this for some reason - I seem to be stuck on 98.8 no matter how often I answer the questions correctly.

I have answered all the questions correctly and now I am going round in circles just answering the same questions  repeatedly, but my score stays at 98.8 and will not increase. The only mistakes I have made have been through tiredness and in ways irrelevant to the actual topic, by not spotting the lack of the reflexive pronoun for ‘dormir’ in one of the answers!  I am finding this very frustrating and I wonder if  perhaps there was another question now deleted which I had an imperfect score on, and now can’t perfect, or something like that. 

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