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As of the time of writing, he was jobless.

Does this sentence mean that he was jobless at the time of writing — meaning he could have lost the job prior to the time of writing — or does it mean that starting at the time of writing, he was jobless?

I looked up the phrase and realized that as of means from now or starting now and not right now, is that really the case? Or does as of mean right now as well?

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  • Where did you look it up, and why do you doubt it? Have you looked it up in a dictionary?
    – Joachim
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 21:02
  • @Joachim I actually did look it up in an online dictionary, the Cambridge one. The reason I doubted it was because I kept seeing people using it talk about things that were true for that particular time, which aligns with blckknght says in their answer.
    – Nopeyes21
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 19:28
  • as of [time] always means starting from [time] - with the implication "false" before then, but "true" at that time, and thereafter. So whereas you can say At midnight I went to bed, you CAN'T say As of midnight I went to bed Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 3:36
  • I don't know why 4 people have voted to close this Q. In the end it's essentially a matter of opinion, but I'm actually surprised how many people are prepared to use as of [some time in the past] when the context clearly refers to something which was true before [that time in the past]. To me, that's "non-standard" - as of [past time] only works for me when it refers to our most current knowledge, which started at that point in past time, and hasn't been updated with new information since then. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 12:59

1 Answer 1

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By itself, the phrase "as of" merely asserts that a certain fact is true at one specific time. So in your example, the person was unemployed at the time the statement was written.

Depending on the context, a change from a previous state might be inferred. For example, if your boss writes you a letter saying that "as of your receipt of this letter, you are unemployed", the letter is firing you and you no longer have a job. Similarly, the phrase can be used to announce a future change before it takes effect: "As of next week, our company policy will be [...]."

The phrase can also be used for statements that were true at some time in the past but may no longer be true at the time they are read. "The army was still holding the enemy off at the pass as of two nights ago, but the general did not think they could last past noon yesterday." Or, to circle back to your example sentence fragment, you might see this in an editor's note on an newspaper article about unemployment: "The author of this article was unemployed as of the time of writing, but has since started a job with company X." (This would perhaps be a little unusual though, since generally "as of the time of writing" refers to the writing of the current text, rather than some other text.)

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  • Your first paragraph asserts that as of [point in time] means at [that time] - with no fixed implication as to whether something applied before that time, or will apply after it. But in fact (and as OP suspects), it very specifically means starting from that time - implying something definitely didn't apply before that time, but will continue to apply after the specified time. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 3:32
  • I do not fully agree. You're definitely not entirely wrong, as the "starting from" meaning (which I give some examples of in my second paragraph) might be the most common of the various meanings "as of" can have. Merriam-Webster says "begins or ends", Cambridge only says "begins", but dictionary.com gives "from, at, or until". Do you think my examples in my third paragraph of things that used to be true are invalid or ungrammatical?
    – Blckknght
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 7:19
  • After checking usage prevalence, I can't deny that some people do use as of as per your examples, so I just made a "non-edit" to your answer so I could cancel my downvote. I don't really like either of your last two examples, but I would point out that I find the "general" one far more acceptable - because as of [time] effectively refers to our most up-to-date information, which begins / began at [time in the past]. I'd still prefer plain at (or feasibly as at), but that seems to be more my personal stylistic choice. The final example I find really peculiar. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 10:45
  • Yeah, the last example was a bit forced, though more so regarding which time of writing was being referred to. But that was the form of the phrase being asked about in the question, and I wanted to loop back. I really don't think "as of the time of writing, he was jobless" directly implies anything about how long the man has been unemployed or how long it is expected to continue. You might be able to make an inference based on additional text, e.g. If you made it "still jobless", it would imply a long while, but if you'd just been discussing recent jobs, it might imply a short period.
    – Blckknght
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 11:48
  • I generated this chart expecting to find as at more common than as of for a "most recent info in the past" usage (plain at being the hands-down favourite, obviously). But you're right and I'm "wrong" on that point. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 12:45

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