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The phrase

I'm reading the book.

means that someone is reading the book at the moment of speaking that phrase, "now" is assumed in the phrase. So is it OK to say

I'm reading the book now.

2 Answers 2

1

I don't think there's necessarily a now implied, nor does now have to mean that it's something you're doing at the exact moment of saying those words.

I could be having lunch with somebody and they could bring up a book they'd heard about. In response I could say:

"I'm actually reading that book."

That doesn't meant that I have the book in my hands, open to a certain page, while I say that to the person. It just means that I'm in the process of reading the book.

It's also possible in that context to add now to the end of the sentence and mean the same thing; it still wouldn't mean that you were reading the book at that moment. (In that situation, it would mean that you've finally gotten around to reading the book yourself.)


On the other hand, you might say something like this:

"I'm sorry, I can't come out. I'm reading that book."

In that context, it's more likely that this means you are actually reading the book at the moment you say that. (Or that you've just put it down in order to answer the phone when somebody called you to ask if you were free for lunch).

In that scenario, now is implied and they also mean the same thing.

But, having said that, it's more likely that you would add now to the end of the sentence to emphasize your actual meaning.

"I'm sorry, I can't come out. I'm reading that book now.


Now puts slightly more emphasis on the at this very moment interpretation. While the two sentences can be taken the same way, sometimes context can imply that without now it's an ongoing process but with now it's a statement about your immediate actions.

If you really want to make it explicit, you would qualify now:

I'm reading the book right now.

Or you could simply say:

I'm reading the book at this very moment.

2

Yes, it's okay to use now if it serves a purpose.

Most of the time we add adverbs in constructions such as these for emphasis or for clarity.

So if a parent were to ask a child when are you going to tidy your room, the child might well reply I'm tidying it now or at the moment.

Specifying the time is a natural way of emphasizing the immediacy of the action - I'm already engaged in it - or of one's intention, as in:

I'm going to tidy my room now

Most of the time, it's not necessary. So if the parent were merely to ask:

What are you up to?

The child is likely to reply:

I'm playing on the computer.

There's no need to add now because it adds nothing to the meaning.

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