The sentence from an article(link):

While most public health studies focus on current behaviors and diets, we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels now that we are adults.

The meaning of now that from different dictionaries:

cambridge: We can use now that as a conjunction to refer to something and its result(s)

macmillian: as a result of something, used when you are saying that something happens as a result of something else

oxford: because the thing mentioned is happening or has just happened

In the sentence above from the article, I think, now that does not convey the result of being adult. Therefore, it means when instead of because to me. Can we say now that can convey same meaning as when does?

  • 1
    Please search online for define now that. If have questions after reviewing the results, please edit your question to tell us what you found and why you still have any question. Sep 24, 2019 at 20:48
  • cf. Meaning of “now that”
    – choster
    Sep 24, 2019 at 21:59
  • 1
    @JimReynolds The question was edited. Sep 25, 2019 at 7:40
  • I edited your question title because I assume you made the common error of using except to mean beside(s); in addition to. Except only carries that meaning in certain contexts. But I wasn't sure. Sep 25, 2019 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


Rather the opposite.

"Now that" does not mean "because". Being adult is not the cause of their obesity. They are not obese BECAUSE they are adults.

"now that we are adults" is telling us that the people are adults now, at the time of writing and we are looking back to what they ate in the past.

"when we are adults" would tell us that the people are not yet adults and we are looking into the future to a time when we will have become adults.

  • The article is about why today's adults are obese and investigates the effects of sugar consumption in childhood. Sep 25, 2019 at 5:20
  • Exact;y, which is why "now that" is correct in this context. Sep 25, 2019 at 8:14

I think you are confusing the meaning of "now that" in this sentence. We are talking about the fact that we are adults now, not the way in which being an adult causes obesity. Some other ways to change "now that" in this sentence include:

  • we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels once we are adults.
  • we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels when we become adults.
  • @book4languages.com So, “that we are adults” specify “now” in this sentence. Sep 25, 2019 at 10:46
  • In literal terms "now that we are adults" means that we are adults right now, yes. But I feel that, given the circumstances of this sentence (it seems like a report?), the "now" just refers to "once we become adults" or the fact that we are adults in general.
    – Antonio D.
    Sep 25, 2019 at 10:50

Yes. It can mean the same as when, and it does in your reference sentence.

We can replace now that with when, and the meaning is clear and essentially the same.

But there is a slight difference: Now that explicitly conveys the information and we now are adults, whereas, of course, when does not always carry such meaning.

And, while the context makes clear that a past cause is being connected with a current consequence, when does not necessarily do that in other contexts, while now that does.

It rained when I went on vacation last year.

We can't replace when with now that here, of course, which is why dictionaries and people are reluctant to say now that means when.

Now that it's raining, I'm going to open my umbrella.

We can't replace now that with when in the above. It changes the meaning. Note that it signals a causal relationship.

Just to restate my answer in another way:

How did our diets back when we were children affect whether we are obese at the present time when we are adults?

We can omit at the present time in the above, and it makes sense, so we may be tempted to say that it means when. But it leaves out the fact that we are adults now.

Given that we understand that as implied or assumed, then yes, we can say that in this sentence, it means when.

Oxford's "recently happened or is happening" idea may be misleading: "The land bridge between Alaska and Asia has disappeared now that we've exited the Ice Age", for example, technically fits, but may not follow intuitively from that description.

... now that does not convey the result of being adult

Now that introduces the event or situation or characterization of the time period that marks or attends the result: attaining adulthood.

Its relationship with cause or effect is not so simple as it conveys a result.

Now that the holidays are over, I feel somewhat bored.

I'm very nervous, now that you mention it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .