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I am quite puzzled as not even native speakers can agree whether "as of now" means "currently" or "from now on".
Looking in the dictionaries:

  • (Oxford) As from (of) - Used to indicate the time or date from which something starts.
  • (Cambridge) As of/from - starting from a particular time or date.

However, when I look up just "as" in the Cambridge dictionary, one of the entries reads:

  • As of: at a particular date or time. The following examples are provided:

The data is correct as of May 13. (also it might be invalid on the previous and the next day, but it represent the situation as it was on May 13)

This issue may need attention later but, as of now, we are happy with the decision that we have taken. (I think here it is clear from the context that "at present" is meant).

So apparently, both meaning can be correct but I am not sure if the listeners always interpret it the same way. My examples:

  • The new policy is effective as of now. (I mean from now on)
  • As of now, we have three suspects (I mean presently, at this moment - not sure it can be even understood differently)
  • As of now, you can use tools as I will not be needing them. (I mean from now on).

I suspect maybe the position in the sentence matters, but not sure. How should I know what the speaker means?

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In general, it will be clear from the context whether "as of" used with an expression of date or time is intended to mean "at this (or that) time" or "from this (or that) time onwards". Context items may include the tense of verbs used, and the nature of the utterance.

The new policy is effective as of now. (I mean from now on) -

A change (a new policy) is being announced. Policies extend over periods of time. The speaker desires to inform listeners of the fact that the change is in effect. Present tense ("is"). Also possible: the new policy will be effective as of next Monday; the old policy ceased to be effective as of last Friday. The revised fares are effective as of November 1st.

As of now, we have three suspects (I mean presently, at this moment - not sure it can be even understood differently)

Police announcements about the progress of an investigation are usually rooted in the present or a particular time. Present tense "have". Note that "presently" means "at this time" in American English; British English would use "at present", "presently" means "in a short time from now".

As of now, you can use tools as I will not be needing them. (I mean from now on).

This one could be ambiguous; does the speaker mean "you can use the tools during some present time frame (an hour, a day)" or "for the indefinite future"? A native listener would probably use their awareness of the situation to determine the meaning - the speaker has finished a piece of work, or is moving to a new assignment in a different place, etc.

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