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hòu lái
n. later, afterwards
Discussion of 后来/後來
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后来 can only be used to refer to something that happened in the past. And most of the time, it is the last stage of a process. For example:
以前我和他一起住,后来他搬到外面去了。 [phr] I used to live together with him, but later he moved out.
后来他逃到美国,在那生活了十年。 [phr] Later, he fled to America, where he lived for ten years.

Please note the difference between 后来 and 以后 -- they are quite different. You may also choose to check out the notes of 以后.
In this note, we discuss the difference between 后来 and 然后.

1. Different parts of speech:
后来 can be used to modify another noun. This because 后来 is a noun indicating time. Nouns can modify other nouns.
Example 1: 她前期的工作为后来的成功奠定了基础。 [phr] Her earlier work established the basis for her later success.
Here, 后来 modifies 成功 (success).
Please note that 然后 cannot be used in this way, because it is a conjunction.

2. 后来 can only be used to refer to something that happened in the past, while 然后 can be used in a future context too.
Example 2a 我先给她打了个电话,然后/后来又给她发了一封邮件。 First I called her, then I wrote her an email.
Example 2b 接下来我准备先出国读书,然后再考虑结婚的事。Next I prepare to study abroad first, then I will think about getting married.
In 2a, both 后来 and 然后 can be used. but in 2b only 然后 is correct since the context is in the future.

For more information,please take a look at the notes of 然后 in trainchinese dictionary.
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