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In Der Pfennig by Hans Eckart, there is also the following sentence:

Eines Tages war der Vater nach der Arbeit sehr müde.

Except for nach der Arbeit, all is clear to me: One day, father was very tired.

But what does nach der Arbeit mean in this context?

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So, again, it was the temporal, not spatial meaning of nach... So simple, and yet so elusive... –  indoxica Jul 18 '13 at 14:28
    
Isn't "nach" usually temporal? The spatial equivalent would be "hinter". "Nach der Schule" vs. "hinter der Schule"... –  elena Jul 18 '13 at 14:36
    
@elena: Consider nach Hause, nach oben (some dialects use this much more often than standard language) and nachlaufen etc., though of course it is no preposition here. –  chirlu Jul 18 '13 at 15:30
    
I stand corrected. –  elena Jul 19 '13 at 6:50
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In this context, „nach“ is temporal: he was tired after work.

Other meanings of „nach“ include:

  • Directionality: „Ich fahre nach Berlin“ (… going to Berlin)
  • Order in a sequence or chain: „die Fünf kommt nach der Vier“ (after)
    also „Bitte nach Ihnen“ (politely asking another person to go first)
  • Consequence: „Nach dieser Beobachtung ist das klar“ (With this observation it is now clear)
    also „nach Adam Riese“ (following [the works of] Adam Riese)

„Hinter“ is spatial, usually in a two-dimensional sense (as opposed to the more one-dimensional „nach“ in a sequence). A bit like “behind”, as opposed to “after”.

„Zu“ has a number of meanings. But in a directional sense, it is used for people and events, whereas „nach“ is used for places with proper names. „Ich fahre zu der Oma“ or „Ich fahre zu einem Konzert“.

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Very clear and concise. Danke. –  indoxica Jul 18 '13 at 17:27
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Like said, zu has a lot of meanings. Zu also means for, for example:

Ich esse Gemüse zum Nachtmahl. (I eat salad for supper.)

Ein Buch zum Lesen. (A book for reading.)

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This actually does not address the question at all. –  Em1 Oct 9 '13 at 11:53
    
Well, it was aked for zu, which was not answered yet. –  Takkat Oct 9 '13 at 13:55
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