presently, at the present time

In North America presently means either “now” or “shortly.” Where more than one interpretation is possible, use precise synonyms such as now or soon.

  • Celeste said that she is presently negotiating a contract. Did she mean that she is working on it now, or will be starting soon?
  • The Boudreaus are presently (or now or currently) living in a lighthouse on Prince Edward Island.

In Britain, presently generally means “shortly.”

  • James will be home from the pub presently (soon).

The wordy phrase at the present time can often be omitted, or replaced by currently, now or at present.

  • Wordy: The minister has no further comment at the present time.
  • Concise: The minister has no further comment.

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© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada

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