current and present

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dr.Appalayya, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Dr.Appalayya

    Dr.Appalayya Senior Member

    Hyderabad, India
    What is the difference between the current topic and the present topic?
    Similarly, the difference between the present chief and the current chief...
  2. nunzilla Member

    USA / English
    If you are in the present tense, they are interchangeable: The current/present topic is multinational cooperation in the fight against poverty. Neither seems more formal to me.

    The only thing that might introduce a difference in the present tense is if you have, let's say, three vice-presidents of a company. You could talk about the current/present vice president Jane Smith, meaning that she is right now (currently, presently) one of the vice presidents. But if you are at a party and you ask the "present vice-president" to speak, it might be because she is "present", physically, at the party, and the others aren't.

    You can use "current" while talking about the past: The then-current fashion item was the miniskirt. You can't use "present" in quite the same way.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Maz_9 New Member

    British English
    Sorry - maybe I am being stupid here, but I didnt understand the explanation. Please could somebody help out?

    e.g. What's the difference between:

    "...the present value of"
    "...the current value of"

    Thanks a million:thumbsup:
  4. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    This is a totally different question since present value is a special financial term and present/current are not interchangeable here. Perhaps you could ask in a new thread?

    Alternatively you could follow the link to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (type "present value" in the search box at the top of the page) and click on present value.
  5. Maz_9 New Member

    British English
    Thanks for the quick reply - I will do that
  6. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    I don't think current and present are generally interchangeable.
    Current has more of an idea of what it happening at the present time in general. The current theory is that the universe is expanding.
    Present has more of an idea of happening right now. The Doncaster Philosophical Society are holding a series of discussion meetings. The current topic is free will. That is what they're discussing at present. If I go to a meeting and they start talking about the chairman's cat, I might say The present topic seems to be the chairman's cat. But I could also say I thought the current topic was supposed to be free will but the current topic seems to be the chairman's cat. So the distinction is hard to define and there's a great deal of overlap. I'd probably say Even if the floods are bringing us some much needed water, their present effects are devastating.

    I'd say John Smith is the current chairman. I wouldn't like present so much, although I wouldn't say it was wrong. However, if at a party someone said I now call upon the present vice-chairman to make a speech, I'd take this to mean that the speaker was emphasising the fact that the gentleman was the current vice-chairman - at least if I didn't know that there was more than one vice-chairmen. If there were three vice-chairmen and two of them were elsewhere, present vice-chairman would be a tautology and I'd just expect to hear vice-chairman.

    I'd say Elizabeth II is the present queen. Current would suggest that being queen was a kind of job you could move in and out of.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013

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