Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

Now or immediately?

Wilson Fowlie has brought to my attention the cartoon How to Express Yourself Forcefully at basicinstructions.net. I have no quibble with the main thrust of the cartoon – it’s rather well done, actually – but there’s one thing in it that has caught quite a few people out, if the comments are anything to go by: in the first panel, one of the characters says “You didn’t say do it now. You said do it immediately. There’s a big difference.”

“Oh no!” think various readers. “Another subtle distinction in English that I never learned and that now threatens to make me look like an idiot! Uh… what’s the difference?” Well, I’ll tell you. Continue reading