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I am looking for expressions that can substitute for as soon as as in the following context. What is important in this context is that the melting of snow happens extremely simultaneously and instantly as it reaches the ground. (Please excuse me, if the example sentence is clumsy. I am not a native English speaker and I'd like to be informed if there is something to fix with the sentence.)

Original Sentence(Context): Snow is melting away as soon as it gets on the ground. So it won't pile up.

Below are what I came up with.

  1. Snow is melting away the (very) moment it gets on the ground.
  2. Snow is melting away the (very) second it gets on the ground.

Can I use the expressions in article 1, 2 while keeping the connotation? If then, is there any difference in the degree of simultaneousness between them?

2 Answers 2

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Yes, you can use either 1 or 2, and there is no significant change of meaning. In this sort of use "second" means simply "a very short length of time" and does not imply an actual measured period of one second. I would avoid the "very", as it adds little here, in my view.

Other words which might be used here are "instant" or "minute". One might also write:

  • Snow is melting away as it touches the ground.

  • Snow is melting away as it lands on the ground.

all of these imply more or less instant melting as the snow comes into contact with the ground.

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  • I am very grateful to you for widening my view and understanding in regard to various expressions that can connote it. But I'd like know a bit more about the difference in degree of simultaneousness among the expressions you referred to even though you said there is no significant difference: for example, the sentence you wrote, Snow is melting away as it touches the ground versus Snow is melting away as soon as it touches the ground. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 17:19
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    @Smart Humanism Both "as" and "as soon as" imply no meaningful delay, and there is no real difference. Perhaps "as soon as" emphasizes the instant melting more, but neither indicates a greater speed of melting than the other. (One can't say "degree of simultaneousness"; two events either are simultaneous or they are not.) On your cmt about "gets on" to the other answer: Words such as "touches", "lands on", "falls on", or "hits" suggest a specific active process. "Gets on" is more general, and tempts the reader tro ask ":how did it get there" it is also less common in such usage Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 17:32
  • Thank you for your additional comment that confirmed the detail along with rich synonymous expressions. I appreciate it Greatly. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 18:10
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Yes, you can use the expressions in articles 1 and 2 while keeping the connotation.

Although they are slightly different: in the original example, the snow does not wait for any period of time before melting, and the only difference in degree of simultaneousness between the two you wrote, (when taken extremely literally) is that one melts within a second of it hitting the ground, which is a defined period of time, while the other is within a moment, which is up for interpretation.

Example: For me, a moment is a few seconds, but for my friend, it is around a minute. Although, both would work as being short amounts of time and get your point across. Might I also suggest that if you are using this sentence in your writing you replace gets on with hits because it flows better.

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  • Thank you for resolving the points I wondered about. It was very helpful and I appreciate it very much. :) But if you allow me to ask a bit more from your answer, does gets on there sound a bit awkward? I'd like to know why hits flows better than gets on there. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 16:50

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