Is "now, ..." the new "well, ..."?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Aug 20 00:08:51 UTC 2013

Never thought to check the OED!  It seems the news reporters are
using this Protean word correctly -- it can mean almost
anything.  Except a specific time.


At 8/19/2013 04:28 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>Nice subject line!
>This use has always made me curious. Wiktionary describes it as:
>Used to introduce a point, a remonstration or a rebuke.
>The OED says "with temporal sense weakened or lost":
>In sentences expressing a command or request, or in a question,
>giving any of various tones (exclaiming, reproving, soothing, etc.).
>Introducing an important or noteworthy point in an argument or
>proof, or in a series of statements.
>Used at the beginning of a clause, or question, or elliptically in a
>question, with emphatic or rhetorical force.
>If this is a growing trend, it could be a result of hype that news
>programs often try to create (i.e., they are using "now" to
>emphasize the importance of their story). If Al-Jezeera's promise to
>deliver real news pans out starting tomorrow, they might then use
>this word less often.
>As an aside, the similarity of this use to the Japanese nao is a fun
>Benjamin Barrett
>Seattle, WA
>Learn Ainu!
>On Aug 19, 2013, at 12:44 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> > It used to be that many, many reporters on television news programs
> > began their pronouncements with "Well, ...".  Now they seem to be
> > beginning with "Now, ...".  Even when it isn't now, but a few hours
> > ago, or yesterday, or whenever.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list