Expressions for Future Plans

Recently, a student asked me about different expressions regarding the future that he had heard at work.  All four expressions below are related to the future.

     •     from now on

     •     in the future

     •     down the road

     •     after this

Although they are similar, these expressions are not exactly the same.  Here is a hierarchy of their meanings.

1. We will need new software from now on.  STRONGEST: Beginning immediately (after this meeting, this moment, this discussion), new software is required.  The old software is no longer acceptable.  Period.  I’m serious.

2. We will need new software after this.  STRONG: Maybe not tomorrow, but very soon we will need to get new software.

3. We will need new software in the future.  NOT STRONG: New software will be needed sometime in the indefinite future.  Not immediately, but eventually.

4. We will need new software down the road.  WEAKEST: New software will be necessary at some point, but it’s not urgent.

Are there other puzzling expressions that you’ve heard?  Write to us.  Maybe we will feature your question in a future blog post.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.