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At the minute

17 replies

spokette · 03/12/2007 10:54

I first came across this phrase when I started working in the South-east (from West Midlands originally).

For example, someone will say "I'm not ready to do this at the minute".

Why do people say this? Am I the only person who thinks that the grammar is terrible, especially as I am not an expert in the English Language department?!

OP posts:
RoxyNotFoxy · 06/12/2007 15:00

It's just follow-my-leader. The older, and well-established phrase "at the moment" is accepted as meaning "in the present circumstances". "At the minute" is just another way of saying it. Grammatically, it's neither more accurate nor less. The reason it's spreading like wildfire is that nowadays we live in a world of TV English, where fashions change almost week by week. Someone on TV says "at the minute" instead of "at the moment", and everyone else follows suit. No one knows why.

IorekByrnison · 07/12/2007 12:45

I'm not so worried by "at the minute", but I get very upset when when shop assistants etc say "I'll be with you in two moments".

Two moments?! When did "moment" become such a precisely measured unit of time that you feel able multiply it by two?

Glad I got that off my chest.

UnquietDad · 07/12/2007 12:50

"At this moment in time" is another! Usually said by football managers.

"Well, the boys done good and at the end of the day it's a game of two halves, and, yeah, we'd have been over the moon to get the three points, but y'know, at the end of the day a draw is a draw, and at this moment in time we have to take that and concentrate on moving forward."

ShinyHappyStarOfBethlehem · 07/12/2007 12:52

I hate "at the minute".

But mostly I hate "..bored of..." and similar... especially on here! It's WITH WITH WITH for crying out gently!!!!!!

donnie · 07/12/2007 12:53

at the minute is no better or worse than at the moment.

UnquietDad · 07/12/2007 12:54

Anyone noticed Starbucks has got the less/fewer thing wrong on their napkins? M&S sorted it out - they should too!!

aWorminaManger · 07/12/2007 13:00

I'm sure I noticed the other day that M&S has gone back to 'less' -- presumably on the grounds that pedants form a minority among their customers, and most prefer the cosiness of a familiar error.

mollymawk · 07/12/2007 13:03

I have no objection to "at the minute" - isn't it just a dialect thing?
But "at this moment in time" is, I agree, very annoying.
I'm not surprised that Starbucks gets the less/fewer thing wrong - I've never seen it be right anywhere except M&S. And even there it looks weird because you see "5 items or less" everywhere else.

HarkTheHassledAngelsSing · 07/12/2007 13:04

I often use the phrase "a jiffy" as in "Hang on a jiffy". I've only recently learnt that it is actually a sixtieth of a second - my interesting fact for the week.

IorekTheRedNosedArmouredBear · 08/12/2007 20:00


I love that fact - I have never heard this before.

But of course I immediately felt the need to trump your pedantry.

So here is a more pedantic version of the 1/60 second definition, and a second even more crazily scientific one:

jiffy [1]
a unit of time used in computer engineering. A jiffy is the length of one cycle, or tick, of the computer's system clock. In the past, this was often equal to one period of the alternating current powering the computer: 1/60 second in the U.S. and Canada, usually 1/50 second elsewhere. More recently the jiffy has become standardized, more or less, as 0.01 second (10 milliseconds). The word jiffy, with its ordinary meaning of an instant or very brief time, appeared in English during the eighteenth century, but its origin is not known.

jiffy [2]
a unit of time used in chemistry and physics, equal to a "light centimeter," that is, the time required for light to travel a distance of one centimeter. This is a very brief interval indeed, about 33.3564 picoseconds. This definition of the jiffy was proposed by the American physical chemist Gilbert N. Lewis (1875-1946), who was one of the first to apply principles of quantum physics in chemistry.

OhMyGaaadThatsGrooosss · 12/12/2007 17:41

well how long is a yonk? As in, 'I've been living here for yonks.'? And at what precise point does a jiffy become a yonk or is it a gradual process of evolution?

sasquatch · 13/12/2007 21:40

Can I add "years of age" ?

Califraunkincense · 13/12/2007 21:51

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

handlemecarefully · 13/12/2007 21:53

I don't say 'at the minute', I do say 'at the moment'. Is this as bad? (too tired to think it through currently)

amicissima · 14/12/2007 20:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smamfa · 14/12/2007 20:32

Iorek - I love those definitions!
My favourite is the ohnosecond - the time between pressing the button and realising the mistake

I hate 'at this moment in time' - I'm always tempted to ask them 'what will you think at some other moment in time - are you a goldfish?'
CurrantBun · 19/12/2007 15:47

I hate "different to ..." - it's "different from ..."

And "compared with", not "compared to"!

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