Difference Wiki

Nowadays vs. Now: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 3, 2023
Nowadays refers to the current general period of time, while now refers to the immediate moment.

Key Differences

Nowadays is an adverb that describes the current era or general period in time, suggesting a comparison with the past. Now, also an adverb, refers to the immediate present moment, without a past comparison.
The term nowadays is used when discussing trends, habits, or states of affairs that are typical of the current time. Now focuses on what is happening at the precise moment of speaking or writing and is also used to prompt immediate action.
When you use nowadays, you are often reflecting on how things have changed over the years. Using now, on the other hand, you are not reflecting on change over time but are instead focusing on the current state of affairs or urging promptness.
Nowadays has a broad, often societal, connotation, implying a span of time that could range from the last few years to even decades. Now is immediate, pinpointing to the exact time of reference, which could be the very second of speaking or the current day.
It is not uncommon to see nowadays in discussions about societal changes, technology evolution, and shifts in cultural norms. Now is used in instructions, announcements, or to indicate a transition in narrative or argument, among other scenarios.

Comparison Chart

Time Reference

Current era or time period
Immediate moment

Context Usage

Comparing the present with the past
Referring to the current point in time


Indefinite, general
Specific, immediate

Common Use

Discussing trends and changes
Indicating immediate action or state


Societal or widespread phenomena
Personal or immediate actions

Nowadays and Now Definitions


Current general period.
Electric cars are more common nowadays.


At this point in a sequence.
Now, add the flour to the mix.


In these times.
Nowadays, it’s easier to travel internationally.


Under the current circumstances.
Now, we must be cautious.


In the present time.
Nowadays, people rely heavily on smartphones.


At the present moment.
I'm busy now, can we talk later?


Contemporary period.
Streaming services are the norm nowadays.


Stop now!


Modern era.
Working from home has become widespread nowadays.


In these circumstances.
Now is your chance to speak.


During the present time; now.


At the present time
Goods now on sale.
The now aging dictator.


What does nowadays indicate?

It indicates the current general time period or era.

Is nowadays a formal word?

It's neutral, used in both formal and informal contexts.

Can now refer to a general time period?

No, it's specific to the moment.

Do nowadays and now convey the same sense of time?

No, nowadays is general, while now is immediate.

Can now be used at the start of a sentence?

Yes, it can start sentences, especially in commands.

Can now be used to reference the past?

No, now refers to the immediate present.

Is there a time when using now would be inappropriate?

Yes, when discussing general trends over a period.

What part of speech are nowadays and now?

Both are adverbs.

How has the use of nowadays changed over time?

Its use hasn't changed much; it still refers to the current era.

Can now always replace nowadays?

No, because they refer to different scopes of time.

Is it correct to say 'nowadays' in academic writing?

Yes, when appropriately referring to current general trends.

Do nowadays and now have the same etymology?

Partially, "now" is part of "nowadays," but they've evolved separately.

Can nowadays be plural?

No, it is always singular.

Is nowadays used for specific events?

Not usually; it refers to general current conditions.

Does now have a future tense application?

It can, in contexts like "Now you will see what happens next."

Is now ever plural?

No, now is always singular.

Can nowadays and now be used interchangeably?

No, because they refer to different concepts of time.

How do I teach the difference between nowadays and now to ESL students?

Teach "nowadays" for general current times and "now" for the immediate present.

Does now have a synonym with the same immediacy?

"Currently" can be similar but is less immediate.

What synonyms can be used for nowadays?

"These days" or "in the present time."
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons