Is there any difference between the two following sentences?
- We can't connect to Outlook right now.
- We can't connect to Outlook now.
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Yes. Using right now emphasizes the time and implies that some condition is currently being experienced that prevents the connection but with the expectation that it will be corrected at some point in the future.
We can't connect right now, but hopefully it will be fixed in an hour.
Using just now may imply that some general condition has changed that is not temporal in nature:
You asked me to disconnect that cable, but I can't connect to Outlook now.
or it might be used in the exact same way as right now albeit with perhaps a little less emphasis on this exact moment.
Consider the following examples:
- I want you to do it now.
- I want you to do it right now.
Both sentences convey the same general meaning. The first adds emphasis to encourage expeditious response.
- We can connect to the internet now.
- We can connect to the internet right now.
The first sentence indicates that we can connect at this very moment and leaves open the possibility, if not the likelihood that the connection may be ongoing.
However, the second sentence also indicates immediate access. However, it does not sugest ongoing availability, and may even suggest potential loss of access if not exercised soon.
- We cannot connect to the internet now.
- We cannot connect to the internet right now.
The first indicates no present access and perhaps ongoing lack of access. [We cancelled our service.] The status has changed from yes to no.
The second sentence conveys immediate access with no indication of ongoign status, or perhaps the tentativeness of the no status. [I'm not sure how long the power outage will last.]
As in most writing, context will shape the interpretation.