Well, canoo.net explains verb tense sequence.

Nothing specific for nachdem is mentioned, but I remember from a German course that nachdem is different with respect to other temporal conjunctions. Can you help please?

  • The section with the title "Anteriority" deals with the word "nachdem". What is unclear? Sep 1, 2018 at 11:43
  • unclear: nachdem is special or not ?
    – orodeous
    Sep 1, 2018 at 20:16
  • @orodeous I think you may remember nachdem as a speacial case because it is basically the only (commonly used) temporal subjunction that necessarily indicates anteriority. So it does stand out in a sense as it, unlike other temporal subjunctions, ordinarily comes with a change of tense between main and subordinate clause.
    – johnl
    Sep 2, 2018 at 9:20
  • @johnl This is the answer OP was looking for and you put it in a comment...
    – David Vogt
    Sep 21, 2019 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


I cite the page you have linked:

Unlike some other languages, German does not have strict rules for the sequence of tenses.

That's true. Though that page lists some obvious examples in its Anteriority section which indeed have a tense sequence. But I show you a counter example:

Ich sehe es mir an, nachdem ich hiermit fertig bin.

Ich sah es mir an, nachdem ich damit fertig war.

This is both present/simple past tense. But the sequence of events is pretty much clear: first the completion of the current task, then looking at the new stuff.

Why is this possible? Because present tense is not only describing the present but also describing the future in German. And past tense does this, too, for narration. The sequence of events is put only by nachdem. Future, nachdem present.

So German does not impose a tense sequence on you. Not even with nachdem.

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