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Context:

I was examining and editing a group of sentences (for a video game) to check for any grammatical or spelling errors. There were a series of levels featuring different zoo animals crossing a dangerous road, and each level had a preliminary cutscene. In one of these scenes the sentence "Now the lion." appeared, and something possessed me to change that to "Now for the lion.".

I have since been asked if one is more 'correct' than the other and I now find myself questioning why I decided to make the change. Is "Now for the lion." more correct than "Now the lion." or is this simply a case of one sounding (subjectively) better than the other?

Question:

Does the phrase "Now the X." have a different meaning to "Now for the X."?

More precise context:

The exact original line (with formatting characters removed) is "Nice! I did it!, now the lion! be careful.", which I changed to "Nice! I did it! Now for the lion! Be careful.". It happens after completion of the level in which a player guides a monkey and before the level in which the player guides the lion. This line is spoken by the monkey.

  • It depends on the context. Can you describe what happens just before and just after showing "Now (for) the lion"? – Lawrence May 25 '17 at 16:35
  • The exact original line (with formatting characters removed) is "Nice! I did it!, now the lion! be careful.", which I changed to "Nice! I did it! Now for the lion! Be careful.". It happens after completion of the level in which a player guides a monkey and before the level in which the player guides the lion. This line is spoken by the monkey. – Pharap May 25 '17 at 17:04
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    Thanks. I think the version with for sounds better there. – Lawrence May 25 '17 at 17:07
  • @Lawrence Ditto, but I can't for the life of me explain why and it's bugging me. English is weird. – Pharap May 25 '17 at 17:29
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    Now for the X implies, to me, that X is something you've been building up to in some way, like it's a bigger challenge or more exciting somehow than the monkey, whereas just plain Now X sounds kind of ho-hum. So I'd be more likely to say "now for dessert" than just "now dessert" but "now the fish course" sounds fine to me without the for (unless the fish is really something special). – 1006a May 25 '17 at 20:29
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I do see a difference that I can't quite find terminology to explain. "Now for the X" only seems appropriate when addressing an interested party: "you've seen the lynx and the panther, now for the lion!" while "now the X" can be used in place of "then the X" in present-tense storytelling: "all the animals are escaping from their cages. Now here come the monkeys, now the lion." Somewhat of a stilted, Victorian example, but it's the best I can come up with, and I don't think that "now for the lion" fits in that sentence. They're both highly elliptical phrases, but in different ways.

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Both are OK, but do not really convey much information: if the lion has not yet been introduced, or the context has not been set up where the player knows they will cooperate with the lion for the next task, then one might think they need to attack the lion or solve something pertaining to the lion in a similar manner to using the monkey.

Try "Now go talk to the lion."

  • "There were a series of levels featuring different zoo animals crossing a dangerous road" "It happens after completion of the level in which a player guides a monkey and before the level in which the player guides the lion." I'd say after the 3rd or 4th animal most people have realised the entire game is about moving animals across a road. (No chickens sadly.) I agree that both lack context, but this doesn't answer the question. I'm not asking "what could have been used instead", there were plenty of alternatives available, but my question is about the difference between "now for" and "now". – Pharap May 25 '17 at 20:50
  • There is virtually no difference. Both are OK, both are correct. "And now for something completely different;" "And now something completely different." Aside from immediacy, I cannot think of any meaningful difference without making up false assertions. – Yorik May 25 '17 at 21:02

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