Years Studied: そろそろマシな日本語ができるはずの年数 Studying: 主に漢字と語彙
好 : 103
Hello! I have been teaching Japanese to American high school students for some time, and while I am comfortable with my knowledge of grammar, this keeps bugging me: is there any reason to prefer 後で to 後に？I was trained in college to use 後で、but in the (many) years since, I see and hear these used interchangeably, and it makes sense with the use of the particle に for time/occasion. My students sometimes ask about this one...お願いします！
11 years ago
A simple way to look at it is that to use 「後に」, a word or phrase must precede it.
Consider these examples:
後[b]で[/b]メールする。 (NOT 後にメールする）
[i]I will email you later.[/i]
[i]I will email you after I've done the work.[/i]
Here is its use with a noun:
[i]I will follow after Sousuke.[/i]
Remember that the particle 「に」 can have the effect of narrowing the time window of a occurrence to a specific point, such as the difference between 「～とき」 and 「ときに」. It works similarly with 「後」 - when you use 「に」, you aren't referring to a general time frame of "sometime later," but rather to a precise moment in time.
That's why you can say:
[i]I'll do it again later.[/i]
This statement isn't specifying a particular time to do it, just a broad time frame of "later." Therefore, 「で」 is used rather than 「に」。