Sunday, 28 March 2010

There and Then

Is there any word in English, or indeed in some foreign tongue, that means there and then? A single point in space and time.

A friend asked me this in the pub on Friday. During the intense and meticulous planning process that precedes all my excursions into the outside world, I had sent a text saying "The Flask at nine?" And he had started to reply "See you..." and then tried to think of a single word that would mean there and then.

Eventually he gave up and wrote "there and then" which I concede is not much of a sacrifice, but the problem bothers me. It niggles.

I was thinking that perhaps there was a word in theoretical physics or Basque.


  1. I can only think of Pronto. In Italian, we use it to answer the telephone: here I am, ready, now, on the dot.

    But it's more immediate than some future specified time, so is not at all what you've asked for.

  2. Y, as in j'y serai. On y va. Nous y sommes. It's not perfect, but it implies 'then' as much as it actually means 'there'.

    But in fact, had your friend simply said 'See you there', he would have implied 'at the time you suggested and I agree to', which is all that 'y' does. So we're back to your question for which I have no other suggestions.

  3. Maybe 'See you there' would have covered it, 'there' identifying both a point in space and time?
    As a (weak) evidential prop for this, an investigator listening to - say - the tape of a cockpit conversation from a flight recorder following an accident might say 'There!' as he or she identified the moment that some extraneous sound was heard.