- On June 3, 2017
“All representatives are currently assisting other customers at this time.”
I heard these words over and over as I waited to talk to a customer service agent. You probably have heard them, too.
If the representatives are helping other customers, they are doing so currently and at this time. The scriptwriters could have left the message at, “All representatives are assisting other customers,” followed by a nice, “but please stay on the line.”
When you’re writing in the present continuous tense—that’s the official name for “am, is, are + present participle”—you are writing (present continuous) about something that is happening now, so adding either currently or at this time is redundant.
Using both? Forget about it!
Presently is especially tricky because it means both “shortly” (as in, “in a minute”) (“Start the meeting without me, I’ll be in presently.”) and “at this time” (“He is presently out of the country.”). My advice? Use it to mean “shortly,” if at all.
Does currently have a place? Yes. Here are two examples where it’s used to good effect:
- “Currently at Spence”—the headline of a news round-up in my grade school alumnae magazine.
- “Currently, most of my readers are my age, but I hope to attract a younger audience in the future.” Here, currently adds emphasis.
In general, you don’t need to say currently if you are writing about something that is happening now. The verb tense says it all.