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  15.3.4 prepositions dopo - 2

Dopo as adverb
Dopo can be used as an adverb as well, besides of its use as a preposition or a conjunction (dopo che). As an adverb it refers to the verb and must be translated with later.

Viene dopo.
He comes later.

In this case it is quite easy to see that dopo is an adverb and not a preposition. The preposition describes the relationship between objects but if there is no object, as in this case, dopo can only be an adverb.

Used as an adverbe dopo is to be translated with later.

dopo as an adverbe  
Me lo ha detto dopo.
He said it to me later.
Lo faccio dopo.
I do it later.
Dopo si seppe che l'esercito repubblicano era stato sconfitto.
Later it was learned that the republican armee had been defeated.
Dopo ognuno sapeva che la cosa non poteva funzionare.
Later everybody knew that it wouldn' t work like that.
E che cosa facciamo dopo?
And what we are going to do later?

Besides that dopo can stand after a noun in this case it is an adverbial pronoun (see below)

Il giorno dopo si seppe dalla stampa che simili manifestazioni "spontanee" erano avvenute in tutta Italia.
The day after one learnt that similar espontaneous manifestations where held all over Italy.  

dopo as a an adverbial pronoun

In case that dopo is a pronominal adverb it must translated with after. What is a pronominal adverb?

Let' s have a look at this sentence.

Il giorno dopo nessuno si ricordava più.

The day after nobody didn't remember anything.


In this case dopo refers to something, to his birthday, Christmas, the day he died whatever, otherwise the sentence doesn't make sense. That's why dopo in this case is a pronominal adverb. It stands for something and as an adverbial adjunct it describes the time when an event happened. We have to admit that this kind of word is somehow strange because it refers to a noun and adverbs in general don't refer to nouns. But that's like that in all languages (the day after, le jour après, el día después, der Tag danach).

You can see once again that there are problems in this world which are complicated from a theoretical point of view, but no problem at all from a practical point of view. It's enough having heard this construction one time and then you can use it with other nouns, il giorno dopo (the day after), l' anno dopo (the year after), la settimana dopo (the week after) and so on.

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