Word Choice: Subsequently vs. Consequently
  • 2-minute read
  • 21st August 2014

Word Choice: Subsequently vs. Consequently

These two words are easy to mix up and often used (incorrectly) to mean much the same thing. They are not, however, interchangeable and have two different meanings.

Sometimes, deciding which of these words is the correct one for your purpose requires careful consideration. Make sure that you use the right terms in your work by learning their definitions below.

Consequently (As a Result)

“Consequently” is an adverb meaning “as a result of.” It is used to describe an effect, outcome or result, like this:

Jonathan is away on holiday. Consequently, he will be unable to play in the soccer match this week.

Subsequently (Later or After)

“Subsequently” is an adverb meaning “occurring later or after something else.” It is, therefore, used when describing a series of events wherein one thing followed another:

President Nixon was heavily criticized for his involvement in the Watergate scandal of 1972. He subsequently resigned from office in 1974.

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However, while there is sometimes a connection between the two events describe (such as the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation), this isn’t always the case. The important thing is simply that one event occurs after the other:

Boris was born in Minnesota, but he subsequently studied in schools across the USA.

Here, for instance, there is no obvious causal connection, not even indirectly, between Boris being born in one place but later studying elsewhere. It’s simply that he was born before he went to school.

Consequently or Subsequently?

Make sure you remember how these words are used:

  • We use “consequently” to discuss the reason why something took place.
  • We use “subsequently” to discuss the order in which events took place.

If you struggle to tell them apart, keep in mind that a “consequence” is a “result” or “outcome.” As such, it should be easy to remember that this word is related to causation. And if you need any more help with your writing, why not upload a document for proofreading today?

Comments (2)
Tom
11th June 2020 at 15:34
Isn't your statement below backwards? We use “consequently” when discussing the reason why something took place, while “subsequently” concerns the order in which events took place. A common mistake is using “subsequently” instead of “consequently” when no causation has been discussed. It seems to be from your definition that when no causation has been established, the word subsequently should be used.
    Proofed
    11th June 2020 at 17:40
    Hi, Tom. Thanks for pointing this out. We'll make a correction now.

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