I'm trying to write something sort of poetic sounding.

Instead of memories let's discover the present that we wanted to search for.

I'm thinking that maybe I should write the word "moment" after "present" to make it unambiguous. I would rather not though, because I don't want to limit the meaning of "present" to "this moment." I would like to leave it open so that it can mean "this day" or "this time." But then if I don't add the word "moment", I think that this might bring up images of searching for presents during Christmas, and I don't want that to happen. What do you think?

  • 1
    I read this in the way that you intended. People might initially get confused over "present", but I think that they would settle on your intended meaning. It makes a more sense to be talking about two different times than past experiences and Christmas gifts.
    – Yozomiri
    Mar 29, 2011 at 3:34
  • "Ambiguity" would make a great tag for this site.
    – naught101
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:25
  • The ambiguity in the sentence is cool. But it could do with some punctuation, and "wanted to search for" is a bit odd (if you wanted to go looking for something, then why didn't you?). Maybe leave off "to search for", or make it "...the present we were searching for"?
    – naught101
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:28

2 Answers 2


From a strictly grammatical point of view, I think the context of "memories" establishes the expected temporal sense of "present" rather than leaving any reasonable possibility that it could be interpreted as a gift; so you shouldn't run into any difficulties due to ambiguity.

(Although this is technically off-topic, from a poetic point of view, while the sentiment is nice the phrasing is somewhat lacking. Perhaps something like "Let us not live well only in our memories; rather let us create the present that we have desired.")


You could replace "present" with "now" (or something similar) and remove the potential for ambiguity.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.