Quick answer
"Follow" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "seguir", and "after" is a preposition which is often translated as "después de". Learn more about the difference between "follow" and "after" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to pursue)
a. seguir
The security vehicles followed his car.Los vehículos de seguridad siguieron su coche.
2. (to obey)
a. seguir
I made a real mess of the desk because I didn't follow the instructions.Hice una chapuza del escritorio porque no seguí las instrucciones.
b. obedecer
She gets into trouble because she doesn't follow the rules in school.Se mete en problemas porque no obedece las reglas en la escuela.
c. cumplir
The soldier was punished for not following orders.El soldado fue castigado por no cumplir las órdenes.
3. (to happen after)
a. seguir
The events that followed the war were truly unexpected.Los sucesos que siguieron la guerra fueron verdaderamente inesperados.
4. (to continue)
a. seguir
If you follow that street, you'll find it there at the end.Si sigues esa calle, lo encuentras allí al final.
5. (to imitate)
a. seguir
I'm going to follow in my father's footsteps; I'm going to be a doctor.Voy a seguir los pasos de mi padre, voy a ser médico.
6. (to work in)
a. trabajar de
You have to study a lot to follow the medical profession.Tienes que estudiar mucho para trabajar de médico.
7. (to understand)
a. seguir
Tell me again. I'm not following you.Cuéntamelo otra vez que no te sigo.
b. entender
I still don't follow the plan for the presentation.Sigo sin entender el plan para la presentación.
8. (to take an interest in)
a. mantenerse al tanto
I've been following the situation on TV, and it's not looking so good.Me he mantenido al tanto de la situación en la tele y no tiene buena pinta.
b. seguir
I followed the first three seasons, and then I got bored.Seguí las primeras tres temporadas y después me aburrí.
9. (social media)
a. seguir
Do you follow Ashton Kutcher on Instagram?¿Sigues a Ashton Kutcher en Instagram?
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
10. (to happen after)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I'd like the salad, and the steak to follow.Me gustaría la ensalada y el bistec como segundo.
What followed was quite unpleasant.Lo que vino a continuación fue bastante desagradable.
11. (to understand)
a. entender
Wait, what? I don't follow.Espera, ¿qué? No entiendo.
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
12. (to be a logical consequence of)
a. deducirse
If you want to work there, it follows that you should learn about what they do.Si quieres trabajar allí, se deduce que debes aprender sobre lo que hacen.
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A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (used to indicate time)
a. después de
Hey, what are you doing after work today? Do you want to go for a drink?Oye, ¿qué haces después del trabajo hoy? ¿Quieres ir a tomar un trago?
2. (used to indicate order)
a. después de
The pen was invented after the pencil.El bolígrafo se inventó después del lápiz.
b. tras (indicating repetition)
The protesters have come day after day for weeks, seeking justice.Los manifestantes han venido día tras día durante semanas buscando justicia.
3. (in search of)
a. tras
She is obviously after his fortune; that's why she married him.Obviamente va tras su fortuna; por eso se casó con él.
4. (in the style of)
a. al modo de
Much of Roman architecture was after the Greek style.Mucha de la arquitectura romana fue al modo del estilo griego.
5. (in honor of)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I was named after my grandfather.Me pusieron el nombre de mi abuelo.
The family has donated so much money to the university that they're naming a building after them.La familia le ha donado tanto dinero a la universidad que están nombrando un edificio en su honor.
6. (considering)
a. después de
You deserve it after all you have been through.Te lo mereces después de todo lo que has pasado.
7. (used to tell the time)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. y
We'd better leave. It's twenty after nine already.Deberíamos irnos. Ya son las nueve y veinte.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
8. (later)
a. después
They met in June and got married soon after.Se conocieron en junio y se casaron poco después.
9. (behind)
a. detrás
It can be dangerous; stay after.Puede ser peligroso; quédate detrás.
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
10. (when)
a. después de que
Go to bed after brushing your teeth.Vete a dormir después de que te cepilles los dientes.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
A word or phrase restricted in usage to literature or established writing (e.g. sex, once upon a time).
a. posterior
Miriam regretted her decision not to marry Tony in after years.Miriam se arrepentía de no haberse casado con Tony en años posteriores.
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