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'.


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    For a bit of background: “You can accept an answer just now” Sep 14, 2011 at 22:13
  • Thanks - I really should have searched a bit before posting
    – StanK
    Sep 14, 2011 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!" Sep 14, 2011 at 22:19
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    From the very link that you used, in the US it does mean "in a moment." Sep 14, 2011 at 22:21
  • Point taken - but I was always taught that this was a common, yet incorrect, usage of the word.
    – StanK
    Sep 14, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 0:10
  • Why not RSN - real soon now? Sep 15, 2011 at 5:23

4 Answers 4


From the very same entry:


  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.

  • 7
    Why would anyone want to introduce typos?
    – random
    Sep 14, 2011 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). Sep 14, 2011 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... Sep 14, 2011 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, 2011 at 22:31
  • I'd understand if you want to accept tvanfosson's answer. "You may accept this answer anon". Beautiful. Sep 14, 2011 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, 2011 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". Sep 14, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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". Sep 14, 2011 at 23:34

Because we really ought to improve both our grammar and our vocabularies.


adverb (SOON) - /əˈnɒn/


  1. in a short time; soon.
  2. at another time.
  3. Archaic . at once; immediately.
  • Or simply "soon"!
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 25, 2011 at 15:05

If we're sticking with adverbs, the moment in the sun dances with:


adverb (SOON) - /ˈprez.ənt.li/


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.

  • Or how about just being very explicit about it? You can do X in [about] Y minutes. Sep 14, 2011 at 23:27
  • @Jeff, reread the question, which is about the last moments.
    – msh210
    Sep 14, 2011 at 23:31

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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