Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. Within a few weeks, Writing Tips will no longer be available.

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

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.