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I was writing an email to a client about a feature we plan to eventually release, maybe in a couple months, but they want some of the functionality now. I initially wrote:

If there's something else I can do for you, go ahead and let me know. I don't suspect the upgrade will be any time soon.

It sounded like I was saying the upgrade will take a long time, but that's not what I want to imply. I almost wrote:

I don't suspect the upgrade will be any time immediately soon.

...which sounds awkward, and I don't think it's correct. The search results I got for the term support my assumption.

What would be a better way to say "not soon, but fairly soon" in this context?

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Ah, a downvote by the third view. Is this a bad question? I'm happy to remove it, but if someone would be so kind as to enlighten me about my fault I would appreciate it very much. Maybe the answer is obvious and I just have a mental block? –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 19:55
    
Your example, "If there's something else I can do for you, go ahead and let me know. I don't suspect the upgrade will be any time soon." can be made more clear by saying "I don't suspect the upgrade will happen any time soon." That is widely understood to mean that the upgrade is not in process, rather, it has not been started or even scheduled yet. I support a software app and know a little about this! lol! –  Kristina Lopez Feb 22 '13 at 20:01
    
@KristinaLopez You merely changed "be" for "happen"? Don't you think both ways make it sound like the upgrade will take a long time? Often people say "it won't happen any time soon" in an almost sarcastic way to mean that it will never happen. I want the customer to know that it will be soon, but not so soon that they shouldn't send me support requests for their current product. It is in process, but not likely to be complete before they need some of the functionality that it will offer. Can you suggest another phrase that will instill a bit more confidence? –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 20:02
    
You're right, "not happen any time soon" sounds like it's in the distant future, whether it is said sarcastically or not. Another way to say it where it doesn't sound so distant is to say, "the upgrade will not happen in the immediate future" or "I don't have an exact date for that upgrade yet - but it's coming." I hope that helps! –  Kristina Lopez Feb 22 '13 at 20:33
    
@KristinaLopez I like your suggestion: "I don't suspect the upgrade will be in the immediate future." It's exactly what I was looking for; not too pessimistic but not promising anything either. If you post it as an answer I will accept it. It's a perfect swap-out: "any time soon" -> "in the immediate future". –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 22:27

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Another way to say it where it doesn't sound so distantly in the future is to say, "The upgrade will not happen in the immediate future."

(thanks Wesley!)

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If you want to sound a little more hopeful, you can add a "but it's coming" to the end of this. "...The upgrade will not happen in the immediate future, but it is coming." –  Marthaª Feb 22 '13 at 22:52
    
@Marthaª The thing about that is, it doesn't give you an out if the upgrade never happens, while "it won't happen soon" does. ;) –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 23:06
    
This is a passive sentence and makes it seem as though the upgrade happens via some force over which you have no control. Considering that you are doing the upgrade, I think you would want something such a bit more active. I'm answering below. –  Jack Ryan Jul 28 '13 at 16:06

From a client's perspective, an actual time frame is far more meaningful than any formulation intended to convey "soon but not right away." If you hope that the upgrade will be available within two months but you recognize that it may slip a bit from that schedule, I would recommend expressing the time frame as follows:

We expect to have the upgrade ready within three months—and if all goes well, within two months.

This has the advantage of offering your client a realistic idea of the probable range of completion dates, without absolutely promising anything.

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Unfortunately I do not have a timeframe, and don't wish to imply that there is one. –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 22:19

I might say that the upgrade will "take a while". While "a while" is not exactly a long time, it does mean an appreciable amount in this usage. Like this:

If there's something else I can do for you, go ahead and let me know. I suspect the upgrade will take a while.

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This works too, thanks. I suppose it's a pretty dumb question on my part as this seems to be kind of an obvious way to put it, I guess I was looking for something that says "it's coming soon, but I have no idea know when". –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 22:24
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This implies specifically that it will probably take a long time. –  Marthaª Feb 22 '13 at 22:50

The upgrade is not imminent.

imminent (adj.) liable to happen soon [Collins]; likely or certain to happen very soon [Macmillan]

If you want, you could add some reassurances to the end:

The upgrade is not imminent, but it's coming.

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How about the following:

If there is something else I can do for you, please let me know. Although the upgrade is not available yet, it soon will be.

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A bit too optimistic for my taste, but yes this would work, although telling them that the upgrade is not available yet seems a bit obvious. –  Wesley Murch Feb 22 '13 at 22:22
    
Apart from not getting the timing right, this is a run-on sentence. –  Marthaª Feb 22 '13 at 22:50
    
@Marthaª: I don't agree. The sentence is fine as is. –  rhetorician Feb 23 '13 at 1:36
    
You could make my suggestion less optimistic by adding the words "we hope" to it: If there is something else I can do for you, please let me know. Although the upgrade is not available yet, we hope it soon will be. –  rhetorician Feb 24 '13 at 2:21

By sticking with a passive sentence structure ("will be"), you're dodging the issue and, if I may be so bold, leaving out information that your customer may need to know. I would recommend changing this to an active sentence and actually including some information. After reading over comments, perhaps something like:

[We're waiting on a 3rd party for some reason. We're not sure how much time the 3rd party will need. As soon as this condition is met,] we will perform the upgrade in a matter of [minutes/hours/days]. [We don't think this will be a problem for you, let us know if this is incorrect.]

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As much as I'd like to get your response on some new feature, if I were the client, there's nothing in the OP's question to imply anything definite that can be committed to on that new feature. Actually the OP says as much in the comments under the question. –  Kristina Lopez Jul 28 '13 at 17:30
    
@KristinaLopez then perhaps "[As soon as some condition is met] we will perform the upgrade" or "start the upgrade process." –  Jack Ryan Jul 28 '13 at 18:03
    
Absolutely, if that condition is known. My experience with software support is that you sometimes need to make vague assurances in the absence of any firm commitment. :-) –  Kristina Lopez Jul 28 '13 at 18:09
    
True of many business cases. But with all due respect (and just at the fringe of applicability to this question) I would hope that anyone making such a statement knew which condition he or she was waiting on. Otherwise . . . ? I understand that the OP has little/no control over the 3rd party, but does have current information about this work and will react as appropriate. –  Jack Ryan Jul 29 '13 at 11:25

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