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ASL: then


Before deciding to do a specific sign for the concept of "then" you should consider whether or not the sign is needed at all.

Sometimes the right way to sign then is to NOT SIGN IT.  (Read on).

It is common to tell narratives in ASL in chronological order (the order in time in which the story happened). If your story is being told in chronological order it typically isn't necessary to add a separate sign for "then."  For example: I DROVE-to STORE [location on left] DROVE-to LIBRARY [location on right] DROVE-to-[directional near body] HOME.  It is obvious that after you drove to the store you drove to the library.
There is no need to add the sign THEN unless there was some sort of uncertainty and you wish to make it very clear.  There is no need to sign FINISH either if the rest of your sentence makes it clear that you did something and then did something else.

However, to make your local (or distance education) ASL teacher happy you may need to sign that sentence using this structure:

I DROVE-to STORE FINISH, DROVE-to LIBRARY FINISH, DROVE-to-[directional near body] HOME.

Using the sign FINISH in that manner is a way of forming a conjunction as in "and then." However, again, as I pointed out above -- in real life we generally don't need to add "FINISH" to such narratives as long as the sequence of events in your story is obvious to the observer.

Regardless, your teacher and your current textbook (as long as you care about your grade) get to be "right" for 15 weeks (or however long it is before you get the grade you want). After which you should go out into the Deaf Community and learn to sign like the local Deaf native skilled ASL signers.

The "general" or "default" American Sign Language sign for THEN is done by holding your non-dominant hand in front of you in an "L" hand shape with the index finger pointing generally forward, the thumb pointing generally up.  Touch the pad of the dominant hand index finger (the fingerprint area) to the tip or pad (thumbprint area) of the non-dominant hand thumb and then touch the dominant hand index finger to the non-dominant hand index finger near the tips of each finger (typically around the area of the the small knuckle*).


THEN / "and-then" / "and the next item":

The "then" sign can also mean "secondly" as in a second point, item, or reason.


Link: "then"

NOW I GO-to fs-VET index DOG SHOT-[immunization], FINISH, GO-to SCHOOL PICK-up SON.

Now (or today) I'm going to go to the veterinarian and get my dog immunized after which I'll go pick up my son from school.

You might see the concept of "and then" expressed (while telling a story or during a narrative) by the signer using the "FINISH" sign between happenings in the story.



Then as in "from then on" or "from that point forward":

"FROM-THEN-ON" / proceeding from there / after which:




later-on / TIME-[transition-bent-hand] / after a while / time went by / then / time passed:


ASIDE / put that aside / moving on / and then the next / let's not focus on that


Sometimes you might want to express the meaning of:  "well, so, then ..."


A concept related to "then" is "next."
However, keep in mind that the concept of "next" can be signed a great many ways depending on what you mean by "next."


*The small knuckle is also termed the "distal inter-phalangeal joint." It is the knuckle on each finger that is closest to the tip of the finger.

A related concept is:  From time to time. 



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