We know what "any time now" means, indeed: from now on it will happen soon. But in the sentence, which is quite informal, "Now yo'berths's ready any time, Miss" - said by the porter in the train (Pale Horse, Pale Rider, K.A. Porter) -, does it mean the same? I'm not sure, because the words are not in the same order.

2 Answers 2


In the example, the berth itself is ready and will remain so until Miss is ready to board it.


I interpret "any time now" as similar to "real soon now" in that both refer to things that have not yet happened, and different in that "any time now" implies something will (or is likely to) happen, while "real soon now" often is used in sense "not going to happen".

In the example, when the porter says "Now yo'berths's ready any time, Miss", he or she means that the berth is ready now, and Miss may occupy it whenever she likes ("any time").

  • This is likely to have regional differences in interpretations. For example, in South African English, the expressions now-now and just now, actually both mean not now, but a little later than now.
    – Brad
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 17:43
  • In my experience, both "any time now" and "real soon now" are usually used in a sarcastic sense. They also have almost nothing to do with the porter's phrasing, which is (1) meant literally, and (2) not standard English.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 18:32

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