Jul 23, 2012
Grammar Hammer: Is It Presently or Currently Storming?
When storm clouds start rolling in, do you say it’s currently or presently storming? Well, it depends what you mean.
Before you start battening down the hatches and squirreling away your freeze-dried food and batteries, consider the subtle difference in meaning between these two adverbs.
According to Merriam-Webster.com:
- Presently means before long.
- Currently means occurring or existing in the present time.
Confusingly, presently doesn’t mean “at present,” it means “in the near future.” Only currently refers to “right now.”
- The wind’s picking up; it will storm presently.
- There is currently thunder and lightning.
Pro Tip: If you’re struggling with a particular phrase, replace “presently” with “soon” to check its correctness. And remember — if it’s currently thundery outside, you’ll need an umbrella presently!
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Author Grace Lavigne is a former senior editor for ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. Read more Grammar Hammer columns here and tweet @PRNewswire with any #GrammarGripes you want us to cover in a future installment.