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This is a native speaker's sentence: Ellen's favorite moments (see:2:48-2:50) A funny boy is eating pizza and says:

"Now that was some delicious pizza."

I did not quite understand why "Now that" is used here. I know that "now that" means "since, or "because", but semantically it does not sit well.

Why might he be saying "Now that ......"?

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  • @FumbleFingers, Ahh I understand now. So, they should have put a "colon" after "now" in the subtitles. It should have been "Now, that was ......". Ok, that makes sense. However, then there is another question. Why does he say "...that was ....." instead of "....that is....." because he is actually eating it at the time of speaking?
    – Yunus
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 13:25
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    When it's just an interjection, we normally include a comma after initial interjection Now in the written form. But we don't include that comma if the word now has its "literal" adverbial meaning at this time (often specifically ...as a consequence of recent events). Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 13:35
  • ...your cited speaker is definitely a bit "abnormal" if he used was instead of is before he'd finished eating. I suppose he might be specifically thinking of his reaction to the first bite, and the exact context might affect things. But as a general principle, don't copy him. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 13:36
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    in the immortal words of Samuel L Jackson (Pulp Fiction) - This is a tasty burger! - but in my mind, I always remember it as That is one tasty burger! Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 13:42
  • Noah Ritter, who became a minor Internet phenomenon, thanks to the Ellen Show, was only five when this was aired. Give the kid a break if he said "that was" instead of "that is"!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

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now is a word that can be used to refer to a particular real thing that is happening in the present time or in speech. now also implies that another thing is being compared to it.

  • Now that/this is good pizza. [implies another one was not]

Richard Nordquist

A deictic expression or deixis is a word or phrase (such as this, that, these, those, now, then, here) that points to the time, place, or situation in which a speaker is speaking. Deixis is expressed in English by way of personal pronouns, demonstratives, adverbs, and tense. The term's etymology comes from the Greek, meaning "pointing" or "show," and it's pronounced "DIKE-tik."

It sounds more complicated than it really is, for sure. For example, if you would ask a visiting exchange student, "Have you been in this country long?" the words this country and you are the deictic expressions, as they refer to the country where the conversation happens and the person being addressed in the conversation, respectively.**

deixis

Now that [food, sample, thing you gave me] refers to pizza just eaten.

If you are actually pointing at a pizza on the table, you might say:

  • Now this is great pizza too.

Other examples:

  • Now that was a great movie.

  • Now this is not a simple matter.

The now involves the presence of an interlocutor and it always refers to something already experienced or mentioned.

Personally, I would not use a comma because in speech now this and now that do not include a pause in speech.

Be aware that in writing, the now could be followed by a comma because it is a pure conjunction:

  • Now, when the invaders arrived, the Romans were not prepared to fight them.

now draws attention to some point in a story.

Also, the Cambridge Dictionary has this to say:

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

Now that she had his attention, she couldn’t think of anything to say.

In informal speaking we can leave out that:

Now (that) the weather’s nice, the children play outside all day.

Cambridge Dictionary

That said, I find the concept of deixis very useful for English language learners as it goes past a purely grammatical explanation.

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  • Thanks for the detailed analysis, however, I am not sure if I understood this part of your answer correctly. "If we are actually pointing at a pizza on the table, we might say: "Now this is great pizza too." So, do you mean the structure "This is ..........." is used when you are actually pointing at a pizza and the structure "That was .........." is used after you have eaten the pizza to say how delicious it was."
    – Yunus
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 14:45
  • @yunus No, "This is good pizza." and: "Now this is good pizza." function the same way. So do: That was a good pizza and Now that was a good pizza. The now one though can imply another pizza was tried and found to not be as good.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 14:55
  • Ok, now I understand it completely. Exactly that is the situation on the show. He tried other pizzas and said he did not like them. And this last one is when he used "Now that .....".
    – Yunus
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 15:04
  • @yunus Yes, that's exactly my point. Just bear in mind it can refer to ideas as well, not just physical things. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 15:06
  • There is no deixis in this use of "now". The normal use of "now" to indicate time ("Now is the right time to ask.") is deictic because it indicates a specific place in time. The OP's use of "now" does not indicate a particular place in time in contrast to some other place in time not indicated. The word "that" is the only deictic in that sentence.
    – gotube
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 16:11
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It's not now that. Also it doesn't mean since in the example. These words aren't being used together in that sense. To be honest, I would consider this a punctuation error.

It would have been better if the writer had either inserted a comma or used an exclamation mark after the word, since it would make it easier to read and would avoid confusion with now that which has a completely different meaning. A native English speaker can guess this from context, but it's confusing for learners.

For example

Now, that was some delicious pizza.

Now! That was some delicious pizza.

Now, what shall we do tommorrow?

†Now then, what do you think of that?

Now, that looks like fun!

The word now is being used to emphasize or draw attention to the importance of the following point. This is quite similar to how we can use Well, or how we use Well then, at the beginning of a sentence to introduce/emphasize a point. It has no specific meaning as such, and is merely used for emphasis.

  1. a. Used to introduce an important or noteworthy point in an argument or proof, or in a series of statements. Also †now then.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary Online (1989 edition)

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