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.