Author Topic: "Now" can be used as a conjunction to mean "in view of the fact that"  (Read 7544 times)

Joe Carillo

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A raving, vindictive, “know-it-all” anonymous flamer recently sneered at this sentence of mine as using the present perfect progressive wrongly: “The speculator is on a buying spree now that stock prices have been falling precipitously.” (“Is ‘been’ necessary?”)

He contended that because “now” denotes the present time or moment, the use of the present perfect progressive “have been falling” in that subordinate clause is grammatically erroneous. He then presumptuously declared that the correct and only valid tense for that subordinate clause in that sentence is the present perfect, as follows:

“The speculator is on a buying spree now that stock prices have fallen precipitously.”


Is that right? Absolutely not! The present perfect “have fallen” is wrong because its sense is that the falling of the stock prices has stopped at the moment of speaking. On the contrary, the intended sense is that stock prices continue to fall up to the present time and may continue to do so in the immediate future—the precise sense of the present perfect progressive. The problem is that the anonymous flamer’s knowledge of the meaning of “now” is limited to its being an adverb that means “at the present time or moment.” He is unaware that another use of “now” is as a conjunction that means “since” or “in view of the fact that,” as in “Let’s talk now that we are here.” (This definition is from Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary.)

So that’s the precise sense of my use of “now that” in this sample sentence I presented: “The speculator is on a buying spree now that stock prices have been falling precipitously.” The validity of that sense can readily be checked by replacing “now that” with “in view of the fact that” or “since”:

“The speculator is on a buying spree in view of the fact that stock prices have been falling precipitously.”

“The speculator is on a buying spree since stock prices have been falling precipitously.”

I do hope that that flamer learns something from this so he won’t be so obnoxiously intemperate only to end up putting his foot in his mouth, as in this case. Until then, his perpetual ban from this Forum, my blogspot, and my Facebook page stays.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2023, 03:27:44 PM by Joe Carillo »