Can anyone explain the meaning of "Is it now" to me? I googled this phrase, but I couldn't find the answer out...I heard this from a TV show:

Maggie: Mail's here, telephone bill, letter from your mother, "Simone's of Siyasi Sexy Sleepwear"
Jason: Mmmm. Wonder how we got this.
Maggie: Mmm. I don't know. Could it be because it's addressed to a Doctor Jason Seaver?
Jason: Is it now. You know I've been getting this darn junk mail ever since I sent away for "Slim Whitman's Greatest Hits".

Source: Growing Pains script


1 Answer 1


I see it as rhetorical question, and could be punctuated as

Is it, now?

The question is essentially, is it?, or is that true?, but no answer is expected. In this case, I believe it expresses mild surprise or disbelief with a coy feeling. In other words, he might be pretending to be surprised, but in reality, he knows he ordered the catalog.

In other cases, it could be a genuine expression of surprise.

  • In NOAD, meaning #4 for now reads: used at the end of an ironic question echoing a previous statement: “Mom says for you to give me some of your stamps.” “Does she now?” I think you've correctly identified the meaning, but I think the comma is typically omitted.
    – J.R.
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:56

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