I'd like to know the difference in common usage of those four prepositions.

  • потом
  • затем
  • спустя
  • после чего

Besides: Is после чего equal to после этого and if not, what's the difference?

  • I would be very grateful if respondents could additionally comment on whether there is a difference in register between these terms.
    – Valiowk
    Feb 23, 2014 at 23:08
  • I am sorry, but aren't потом and затем adverbs? I've never thought of them as prepositions. Prepositions are meant to connect words or parts sentences together, but потом and затем don't really perform that function: Сможешь это сделать потом - You can do it later. Это обязательно случится затем - It will definitely happen afterwards.
    – brilliant
    Feb 27, 2014 at 8:29

3 Answers 3


Потом, затем & после чего you can use one instead another.

Я ответил на вопрос на форуме, потом/затем/после чего пошел спать.

спустя you use to say after some period of time

After 5 minutes, I went to sleep...
Cпустя 5 минут я пошел спать...

после этого you use after you have explained you did something:

Я ответил на вопрос и после этого пошел спать.

потом and затем can also be used separately when answering certain kind of questions.

"When will you do this?" - "потом". in this context it means "Later on"

"Why did you do this?" - "затем". in this context it means "I don't want to answer" or "None of your business".


All of these words have pretty much the same meaning and it's all about sequence Потом - then Затем - next Спустя - after После чего - after that

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