In the following, which phrase is okay? If both are okay, what's the difference? Somehow I suspect "at present" suggests the situation is not how things generally are. For example, "He is out at present" means he is here most of the time, but is away for now.

Company X is the biggest carmaker at present / in the present.

1 Answer 1


You're right, and there's other nuances there too.

Both phrases mean "now". "At present" carries the additional nuance of indicating things that aren't the norm, especially things that are likely temporary.

I'm sorry, Shelly's not here at present. Can I take a message?

"In the present" is mostly used in spiritual contexts meaning fully experiencing life now, in contrast with agonizing about the past or fearing the future. A Google Books search for "in the present" tells the story.

Probably the most natural expression in your phrase about carmakers is "currently" if it's not the norm.

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