Many languages have common phrases that are nearly identical, and English is no exception.
In this article, we’ll tackle the commonly confused “as of now” and “as for now.”
Although the only difference in these two phrases is the central words “of” and “for,” they have very different meanings.
What does “as of now” mean?
Another way to say “as of now” is “at this moment in time.” Basically, this phrase refers to something that is currently true. It implies that the statement has only recently become true, and is also sometimes used to refer to its truth going forward. In the latter sense, you can think of it as similar to “starting now.”
What does “as for now” mean?
“To start with” might be a good alternative to “as for now.” This phrase is most often used in instructions, where it implies that there may be further instructions later but what has been said is a good starting point. It can also be used as a synonym of “for now,” suggesting that while something is currently true, that may change later.
What is the difference between “as of now” and “as for now”?
While both make reference to the present moment, “as of now” and “as for now” have very different meanings. “As of now” is used to refer to something that has recently become an accurate statement, while “as for now” is used to suggest a current focus on one specific aspect of something, but which may change later.
How to use “as of now”
Grammarians and other folks who care deeply about clarity and accuracy often point out that “as of now” is really just a more complicated way of saying “now.”
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that there is in fact a slight difference in meaning between the two options.
While “now” literally just refers to the current moment in time, the phrase “as of now” implies that whatever you’re discussing has only just become true.
Although it sometimes also refers to whether the statement will be true in the future, it can also just focus on the present completely.
The meaning of this sentence is even clearer if you say “starting now,” instead of “as of now.” It points to a new change in behavior. In this case, there’s no particular implication about the future.
Because this sentence refers to something beyond a personal decision, it’s likely that the changes which made this true happened over time, rather than literally right now.
Of course, with something as complicated as space missions, things could still change again.
How to use “as for now”
The phrase “as for now” has two possible meanings. Both of these meanings also focus on the present time, but they are used in slightly different contexts.
First, it can be used to suggest a current action that is either the first step in a series of actions, or that will simply change later.
Second, the phrase can refer to something that is currently true, but may not be true in the future.
Although this sentence is almost identical to our first example for “as of now,” the meaning is very different.
It is an example of the second meaning of “as for now,” implying that while the speaker isn’t currently eating meat, they probably will do so again in the future. It makes no reference to why.
“As for now, let’s study physics. Later, we can work out the rest.”
This is an example of the first meaning of “as for now,” where the action recommended is the first in a series of steps.
The second sentence makes this clear, but this kind of “as for now” doesn’t always have additional context, so watch out for more subtle clues.
“As for now” and “as of now”: the key differences
“Now” is the linchpin that makes both of these similar phrases work, tying them both to the present moment in time.
The key difference beyond that is the “of” and the “for,” which point in different directions. In other words, “as of” points to a change that took place in the past, while “as for” points to a potential future change.
If you still can’t keep them apart, try thinking of “for” as taking a longer time to say, so it’s in the future compared to the shorter “of,” which is in the past.
“As for” and “as of” without “now”
Both of these phrases can also be used without the word “now.”
Not much changes when this happens. The only real difference is that, rather than referring to the current moment in time, the phrases will then refer to whatever moment follows the word “of” or “for.”
It is worth noting that, with “as for,” changing “now” for something else does limit what’s being said to only that specific moment in most cases.
Alternatively, it can be used to refer to a specific action that took place on that day, but this does not suggest an ongoing series of actions like “as for now” sometimes does.
That could be last Tuesday, six hundred years ago, today, a week from now or any other arbitrary time.
The direction in time the phrases point in is the same regardless of what word follows them.
This sentence refers to a future time, as made clear by the future tense verb “will be.” It means that starting on Friday, the speaker will no longer have a job.
This phrase refers to a specific action, but does not imply that anything happened after.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.