The small word now wears many hats in the English language: on the one hand, it's a TEMPORAL ADVERB that means at this moment, and on the other hand, it's a DISCOURSE MARKER that expresses a whole spectrum of nuances in storytelling, conversation, and speech in general. Learning to use it like a native will take your English speaking and writing skills to a whole other level.

As a discourse marker*, now is used to express a wide range of nuances during any kind of narrative or conversation. Many of these nuances are accompanied by specific intonations and placement of this word within sentences, so they merit careful study. Click on the images below to learn more.


*Using now as a temporal adverb meaning at this time is also somewhat tricky. You can learn more about its many nuances here

Short, unstressed Now at the beginning of a statement, immediately followed by the next word: Now I didn't speak Russian at the time...
Stressed Now at the beginning of a statement, with a falling intonation, followed by a pause before the next word:Now, where do you want to start?           
Short, unstressed now at the end of a statement.Tell me the truth, now.