Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
“Afterwords” is a legitimate word, however it is frequently used in place of “afterwards” which has a distinctly different meaning. There’s even a post on this forum which makes this mistake.
Googling for “said afterwords” gives a heap of results; most of them intending “said afterwards”.
I could easily believe that many people hear “word” in afterward and try to wedge in some of the semantics of “word.” Additionally, some may believe that “afterward” is based on the “afterword” of a book (at least those literate enough to have a clear concept of an afterword).
Interesting that you went looking, Rutger, for “afterwards/afterwords” rather than “afterward/afterword.” Perhaps your background is in British English? Both “afterward” and “afterwards” are in English, as the Google ngram shows, but breaking apart the and components shows that the form without the “s” had a brief revival in American English around the year 1900. Looking up the American and British ngrams for “toward” and “towards,” a word not in decline, shows the strong regional predilections still associated with the “s” and non-”s” spellings of the two forms.