Monday, March 24, 2014

As we speak...

This popular expression is self-explanatory: Something is actually happening at the time we are speaking. We usually say this when the other person may not be aware that something is actually happening right at the very moment.

1.      Somewhere in the world a bank robbery is probably in progress as we speak.

2.  –  There’s a civil war going on in Syria?!
–  Yes, it’s happening as we speak.  

3.      Do you know of anything significant happening in the world right now as we speak?

4.   –  When will season 4 of “Game of Thrones” start?
  –  Well, it is currently under production, so they are filming as we speak. It will air on April 7th, 2014.

5.  –  I didn’t know that they had already started building the aquarium in Fortaleza!
–  Yep, they’re actually building it as we speak.

6.      I’m an English teacher and I regularly give conversation classes, so at any given time I could say to my students: “I’m making money as we speak!". This is a pun (trocadilho) because it has a double meaning.

7.      The humidity level in Fortaleza, Brazil combined with the constant year-round sea breeze causes everything to rust (oxidize) quicker than in other parts of the world. In fact, something you own is rusting as we speak.

8.      When we’re writing an email, it is possible to say that something is happening as we speak, even though we should really write, “as I write”.

9.      Do you think that someone is thinking of you even as we speak?


  1. Could we use as we are speaking to enphasize the idea of this right moment?

    1. Hi Sérgio,
      It's not so much to emphasize an idea as it is to draw someone's attention to the fact that something is happening at this very moment, both when the listener is not present (maybe over the telephone) or when whatever is happening is some place else... The listener is not present to observe what is happening.

      It is an emphasis to highlight that something is happening at this very moment. Right now. I think you may have been asking that? If so, you are correct. Also, we say, "... as we SPEAK." No "-ing".

      Australian authorities are making plans to investigate the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in the Southern Indian Ocean as we speak. At this very moment. At this instant. Right now... In real time.

  2. Hi Frank!
    Is it possible to say is "while we speak" instead of "as we speak". Do they have the same meaning. Does "As we speak" sound more natural?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Bruno,
      Sure... "While we speak" is grammatically correct... But as you already guessed, "As we speak" sounds more natural... Not only that, but it will also express an idea in a very precise way. It's the way we use an expression that makes it instantly recognizable and gives it more impact or even cultural relevance.