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I got an answer to a question very shortly after posting it on StackOverFlow, and went to accept it, but got a message along the lines of "you can't accept this question for 4 minutes".

I tried again approx 4 minutes later, and got a message something like 'You can accept this answer momentarily'.

Not to be a pedant, but 'momentarily' means 'for a moment' not 'in a moment', so saying you can accept the answer momentarily is incorrect - it should really say something like 'You can accept this answer in a moment'.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/momentarily

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For a bit of background: “You can accept an answer just now” –  Chris Frederick Sep 14 '11 at 22:13
    
Thanks - I really should have searched a bit before posting –  StanK Sep 14 '11 at 22:19
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You can't say "not to be a pedant" and then be pedantic... That's like saying "Don't be angry sweetie, but I got your sister pregnant. Wait! I said don't be angry!" –  Mark Henderson Sep 14 '11 at 22:19
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From the very link that you used, in the US it does mean "in a moment." –  Michael McGowan Sep 14 '11 at 22:21
    
Point taken - but I was always taught that this was a common, yet incorrect, usage of the word. –  StanK Sep 14 '11 at 22:24
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@MichaelMcGowan, but if there's an easy-to-use transpondian word, it's better than a U.S. one. –  msh210 Sep 14 '11 at 22:46
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@Farseeker - that was deliberate. I meant it in the same way someone says "I don't mean to be offensive" just before they say something really offensive to you. –  StanK Sep 15 '11 at 0:10
    
Why not RSN - real soon now? –  Jonathan Leffler Sep 15 '11 at 5:23
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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

From the very same entry:

momentarily

  1. In a momentary manner; for a moment or instant.
  2. (US) In a moment or very soon; at any moment.
  3. Progressively; moment-by-moment.

Many speakers object to the use of momentarily in the sense of “in a moment” rather than “for a moment”, since this is inconsistent with the meaning of momentary; nonetheless, this use is quite common in North America, and is particularly associated with airlines, such as “we will be landing momentarily”. In place of momentarily, many speakers prefer the terms presently, soon or the phrase “in a moment”, for this sense of “in a moment”.

Tell you what. You accept this, and we won't auto-correct colour to color.

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Why would anyone want to introduce typos? –  random Sep 14 '11 at 22:26
    
Wait, are you telling me that currently SO does auto-correct colour to color? I can't decide if I find that awesome or terrible (leaning towards awesome since I'm American). –  Michael McGowan Sep 14 '11 at 22:27
    
Not sure what they call it in Ashley Judd Land, @random, but here in 'murrica we call that a "usage error", and it isn't one... –  Michael Petrotta Sep 14 '11 at 22:29
    
Ok - so I've gotten used to seeing 'colour' spelled 'color', 'authorise' spelled 'authorize', so I'll just have to get used to seeing 'momentarily' and not think that it means 'for a moment'. –  StanK Sep 14 '11 at 22:31
    
I'd understand if you want to accept tvanfosson's answer. "You may accept this answer anon". Beautiful. –  Michael Petrotta Sep 14 '11 at 22:33
    
Color and colour you can't get around: one is American and the other Ukogbanian. But if there's an easy-to-use transpondian word to use instead of momentarily, why not? –  msh210 Sep 14 '11 at 22:48
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To be perfectly honest with you, @msh, I'm fine with "presently". It's a little bit up there on the hoity-toity scale for the US, but "momentarily" isn't that far below it. I'm just noting that the latter isn't incorrect, just regional. Now, if we can deal with "canceled" vs. "cancelled". –  Michael Petrotta Sep 14 '11 at 22:56
    
OK - so I guess I was a bit hasty with this whole question and didn't read the link properly - and shouldn't have called the usage 'incorrect'. Sorry about that. However @msh210 makes a good point, and I do like the word 'anon' (even if it is a little hoity-toity sounding) so might change my accepted answer if you really don't mind, @Michael? –  StanK Sep 14 '11 at 23:06
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@StanK: Anon? I thought that was a joke answer. Who uses anon? Plus, anyone used to the Wikimedia sites, at least, will think "You can accept this answer anon" is calling him an anonymous user. Presently is good; in a moment is clearer, and precisely as many characters as momentarily. –  msh210 Sep 14 '11 at 23:11
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@msh - actually now that you point out that 'in a moment' has the same number of characters as 'momentarily', this seems to be the best answer. The meaning should be perfectly clear to all English speakers. –  StanK Sep 14 '11 at 23:25
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Yes, "in a moment" is better, though less... interesting... than "anon" (I was being silly, it's not commonly accepted), or "presently". –  Michael Petrotta Sep 14 '11 at 23:34
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Because we really ought to improve both our grammar and our vocabularies.

anon

adverb (SOON) - /əˈnɒn/

Definition

  1. in a short time; soon.
  2. at another time.
  3. Archaic . at once; immediately.
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Or simply "soon"! –  Sklivvz Sep 25 '11 at 15:05
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If we're sticking with adverbs, the moment in the sun dances with:

presently

adverb (SOON) - /ˈprez.ənt.li/

Definition

old-fashioned soon; not at the present time but in the future, after a short time

The room was hot and presently her eyes grew heavy and she began to feel sleepy.

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Or how about just being very explicit about it? You can do X in [about] Y minutes. –  Jeff Mercado Sep 14 '11 at 23:27
    
@Jeff, reread the question, which is about the last moments. –  msh210 Sep 14 '11 at 23:31
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Not to be a pedant, but 'momentarily' means 'for a moment' not 'in a moment'

No, it means either.

so saying you can accept the answer momentarily is incorrect - it should really say something like 'You can accept this answer in a moment'.

so you're incorrect.

Not to be a pedant.

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