Why ‘post’, not ‘after’?

Dear businessperson,

You upset me when you write post but mean after. You lead me up the garden path with your tricksy words. See, I think you’re about to start talking about letters, mail and the Post Office. But you’re not. You just think after is a bit too dull, straightforward and English, and you fancy jazzing things up with a bit of Latin. But it’s really bloody unhelpful, actually.

Take this sentence (names have been changed to protect vulnerable parties): “What prospects are there for us post the proposals to tackle banana fraud?”

My eye doesn’t usually read a sentence in slow sequence – unless I’m deliberately reading slowly, I see the key words more or less at the same time. Consequently, when I look at this I’m expecting something about posting proposals. But is that what you mean? No. So I have to go back and read it slowly, and I don’t thank you for that, because I’m very busy and extremely important.

Now, what I really wanted to write here was that even in Latin, yes, even if we transported ourselves back to ancient Rome, you wouldn’t be able to use post like that because it’s a prefix. Postproposal, perhaps, but not post the proposals. However, having checked with a couple of people who actually know their Latin from their elbow (thank you @Nickety and @helendorritt) before making these wild assertions, I’ve discovered that I’m wrong. But, seeing as I’m wrong, I’ve decided that that’s not really the point.

The point is that when you wrote post, you meant after. So why not just say so? We don’t speak Latin, as I think I’ve just demonstrated (ahem). Also, although you meant after, I think that in this case considering would have been a better choice of word – if they’re proposals then the main concern is likely to be the concept rather than the chronological positioning. No?

In short, I’d just really like you to say what you mean. And if you do want to use post, other than in an existing word such as postmortem, posthumous, etc, save it for adjectival uses where after doesn’t quite suffice. Post-rant cup of tea, anyone?

Many thanks,

A. Reader

PS I am also fed up of reading about perfect storms. Please stop.

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