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[Deleting an accidental quotation mark]

Posted by Pamela on November 17, 2007

In Reply to: [Deleting an accidental quotation mark] posted by R. Berg on November 16, 2007

: : : 'Now then'. As in 'Now then, let's see who can answer this question'.

: : : Surely an oxymoron or a redundancy or both. Does anyone know hoe it originated?

: : I don't know its origin. If its "then" is the "then" of causation rather than the "then" of time, there's no redundancy or contradiction. "Now, in view of what went before, let's see who..."

: : This "now" isn't particularly temporal, either. It acts as a divider between parts of a discourse, as in the following made-up example, where "now" can't possibly mean "at the present": "The legislature is considering a tax increase to take place the year after next. Now, according to economists, if taxes rise, investment will..."

: : So the problem dissolves if you construe "now" and "then" using other senses of those words.

: : In writing, "Now then" needs a comma in its middle. ~rb

As "a divider between parts of a discourse" it's pretty interchangable with "Right, then ...", or "Right, now ..." or "OK, so ...". all of which I have a habit (probably bad) of saying when training people. Pamela