How their meanings differ:
“At the moment” and “for the moment” both refer to this present moment in time:
A: I’m looking for Mr. Pecker.
B: Mr Pecker needs to run to another meeting at the moment. However, I’ll be sure to pass your message along to him!
In this dialogue, person B explains that he won’t be able to reach Mr. Pecker as he’s about to head out of the office right now. You’ll commonly find this phrase shortened on the internet as “ATM” (not to be confused with the ATM that stands for “Automated Teller Machine”).
A: Hey there! Wanna hang out today?
B: Hey! I can’t do today because I’m kind of busy atm. How about tomorrow?
However, “for the moment” can also imply that something might change or become untrue at a later time.
She feels satisfied with their business strategy for the moment.
This sentence suggests that she feels satisfied for now, but she might become dissatisfied with their business plan later. This phrase also reminds us that circumstances or situations can change, for better or for worse. With things constantly changing, plenty of songs remind us to “stop time and enjoy this moment” like in the hit song “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull and Christina Aguilera.
When you live in the present, you focus on what’s happening right now instead of worrying about past events you can’t change or future events you can’t predict.
How their meanings overlap:
Sometimes, you can deploy these phrases interchangeably to make very slight changes to the meaning:
I feel happy at the moment = I’m focused on right now and life feels good.
I feel happy for the moment = life feels OK, but I know it might not stay so good forever.
I’m wrapping up this post for the moment, but I’m already busy brainstorming ideas for new posts at the moment!
Author: Katy Lia, Cambly Tutor
If you’d like to keep this conversation going with Katy, give her a call on Cambly or make a reservation with her here: https://www.cambly.com/en/student/tutor/Katy%20Lia