Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Grammar police: "At present" v. "At the present"

What seems most correct (or do you in fact know which is cor fandan07/12/17
Try "now." It will solve your problem. jeffm07/12/17
At present or at the present time... there is no at the pres wolfman07/12/17
At present Currently At the present time "At the presen nighthawk07/13/17
Where is this present located? lolwutjobs07/13/17
I hate to be the one to break the news, but “present” is larrywilliams07/15/17
Some of the "truths" about the English language that are abs larrywilliams07/15/17
That's fine, I was wrong about it not being a noun, but you wolfman07/15/17
I'm in my sixties, and I'm used to having heard Americans sa larrywilliams07/15/17
fandan (Jul 12, 2017 - 5:32 pm)

What seems most correct (or do you in fact know which is correct?)?

At present, ...

At the present, ...

Thanks!

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jeffm (Jul 12, 2017 - 6:48 pm)

Try "now." It will solve your problem.

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wolfman (Jul 12, 2017 - 6:55 pm)

At present or at the present time... there is no at the present. Present is not a noun. Now would also work, as would currently.

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nighthawk (Jul 13, 2017 - 4:45 pm)

At present
Currently
At the present time

"At the present," is wrong, you don't say the excuse me

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lolwutjobs (Jul 13, 2017 - 4:51 pm)

Where is this present located?

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larrywilliams (Jul 15, 2017 - 10:31 am)

I hate to be the one to break the news, but “present” is a noun -- and a verb, and an adjective -- and has been a noun for a long, long time.

In American English, "I live in the present" is a perfectly grammatical, alternative way of say "I live in the present time".

Go to your dictionary.

present (noun) [ . . . ] “the present time”. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 910, G.&C. Merriam Company (8th ed. 1976).

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larrywilliams (Jul 15, 2017 - 10:43 am)

Some of the "truths" about the English language that are absorbed in the process of growing up are not "truths" at all.

For example, in some areas of the United States, some people seem to believe that using the verb "raise" to refer to the process of "bringing up" a child is incorrect. I've heard that over and over: "We raise corn; we rear children."

That belief is incorrect.

In terms of "bringing up children," the terms "rear" and "raise" are properly interchangeable in American English:

----raise [verb, transitive].... "to bring up or rear (children)....."

--from Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 1174, World Publishing Co., Inc. (2nd Coll. Ed. 1978) (parenthetical in the original).

----raise [verb, transitive].... "to bring up (a child)....."

--from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 954, G. & C. Merriam Co. (8th ed. 1976) (parenthetical in the original).

The old saying that you cannot use an inflected form of the word you are defining in the definition of that word is also incorrect. It's certainly better not to do that, though.

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wolfman (Jul 15, 2017 - 3:31 pm)

That's fine, I was wrong about it not being a noun, but you still shouldn't write "at the present" - it just sounds wrong - unless your goal is to sound like an FOB foreigner. "I live in the present" is fine.

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larrywilliams (Jul 15, 2017 - 4:07 pm)

I'm in my sixties, and I'm used to having heard Americans say "at present" and "at the present" and "at the present time" and "in the present" all my life.

Maybe one or more of those forms is more common in a particular area of the country and less common in some other area; I don't know.

I do know that speakers in certain regions of the country use colloquial expressions without really thinking about the fact that the expressions may sound strange to people from other areas.

I grew up in south Louisiana. One very common expression, when you are saying that you are preparing to do something, is to say "I'm fixin' to" do {whatever). I think that's an expression that might not be used in some other places.

I had a friend from Connecticut who was baffled by the use of one phrase used in Louisiana. When we say that we're finished using a particular item of equipment and we are going to put it back in its regular storage place, we say "I'm going to put this up." My Connecticut friend said, No you mean you're going to "put it away." He thought the use of the word "up" instead of "away" sounded really strange.

Linguists supposedly can tell some things about where a person grew up by the varieties of words they use. Some people say "bucket" to describe a particular kind of container, for example, while other people say "pail". (Curiously, in south Louisiana, both terms are used.)

I grew up in Louisiana, but I've lived in Texas for over 25 years, now -- and ahm larnin' tuh tawlk lahk ahm frum Tek-sizz. (Just kidding. I live in Houston, and almost no one here talks with that kind of drawl -- at least not such a very strong one.)

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