Please have a look at the following construction.

  • I would like to get this over and done with as soon as possible, so please put me down for the closest time to now/from now.

So basically, I want to ask for the nearest time slot or session available for an appointment/booking etc. Should I use FROM or TO with 'now'?

I have looked up both examples on google book search, and could barely find examples for either of those.Perhaps I am looking at the wrong type of expressions? If neither TO or FROM works, what are some alternatives I can use to indicate that I want to have the booking as close to the current time as possible?

Please provide detailed explanation on using 'from' or 'to' with 'now' Many thanks.

  • Do you mean for or from? Please edit your question to clarify. – verbose Jan 24 '17 at 0:57
  • Oops. I will edit it right now. – JUNCINATOR Jan 24 '17 at 2:20

In the US, no one says either:

Please put me down for the closest time to now.


Please put me down for the closest time from now.

Usually someone will ask instead for the "earliest" or the "soonest" or "the next" appointment:

When is your earliest availability?

Please schedule me for the earliest opening.

I would like to schedule the earliest appointment possible.

I want the next available appointment.

I want the soonest appointment possible.*

Note that "earliest" can refer to either the earliest date or the earliest hour on a specific day (the first appointment of that day).

  • Thanks for providing so many example sentences. Why isn't 'closest to' a natural expression, even though dictionary states that the word can be used with reference to time? – JUNCINATOR Jan 24 '17 at 2:30
  • @JUNCINATOR, I do not know why. It just is that way when it comes to scheduling appointments. – user48167 Jan 25 '17 at 5:38
  • @JUNCINATOR, "closest to" might be used in reference to time in an expression such as "Martin Luther King's Day is observed on the Monday closest to January 15," or "the St. Patrick's Day parade is held on the Sunday closest to March 17." – user48167 Jan 25 '17 at 5:45

The other answers are correct in that both closest time to now and closest time from now are not what one would ordinarily expect to hear. However, between the two, closest to is correct. One does not speak of entities in time or space as being close from something. The expression is close to. As Google Ngrams shows, closest from is practically non-existent as an expression.

  • I see, thanks for your answer. If I may ask why is it that 'close to now' isn't something that people say. Might it be because it's redundant, as 'closest' already indicates that the point of reference is 'now'? – JUNCINATOR Jan 24 '17 at 2:24
  • "Why" is a metaphysical question. It's just not idiomatic to say "a date close to now". – verbose Jan 24 '17 at 10:01

It's very difficult to think of a suitable example without enough context, but please take a look at this sentence:

I would like to get this over and done with as soon as possible. So, I'd like to schedule an appointment for the nearest empty time slot available.

  • Thanks, but I would like seek your opinion on 'nearest time slot to/for now'. To provide more context, I wanted to book in for a medical examination at the closest time. – JUNCINATOR Jan 23 '17 at 6:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.