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What is the difference between これから and いまから? Both seem to have the meaning of 'from now on'.

これから、食べます。
いまから、食べます。

Do the sentences above carry the same meaning?

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I have a guts feeling that いまから in general is more immediate then これから. While you can use 食べます after both of them, when you want to say that you are going to do something for a longer period of time you would use これから, for example これから気をつけます (From now on, I'll be careful). I have no proof nor reference so I'll leave this as a comment >___< –  Lukman Oct 2 '11 at 12:03
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@Lukman: When saying これから気をつけます, it's not that the amount of time is any longer than if you said いまから気をつけます, it's that the これ refers more to whatever is happening now that is the life lesson that is the cause of being careful. –  Dave M G Oct 2 '11 at 15:48

1 Answer 1

これから is saying "after this", as in, after the activity or thing you are doing right then. If you're having a coffee with a friend, you're talking about what you'd do after coffee.

いまから is saying "from now", as in, after this moment of time. If you just bumped into a friend on the street, you're talking about what you're going to do soon in terms of time, since there's no specific activity you're engaged in.

Usually いまから is written in hiragana, but the いま refers to the kanji 今{いま}(now). Which most people probably knew, but I thought I'd be thorough.

In real life the two overlap so much, that you will find that they are used interchangeably. It's hard to imagine a situation where saying one in place of the other would cause any confusion, though if one thought hard enough, it might be possible.

Hope that helps.

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As a follow-up clarification, if the activity you're doing "now", such as having coffee with a friend, will take a bit of time, then これから doesn't mean "from now", but "after this" as stated. This could be a substantial amount of time later, even hours in this case. As an extreme, suppose you're at a resort on vacation during Golden Week and make a new friend there. They ask you what your plans are after the vacation. You could presumably say これから and mean several days later. –  istrasci Oct 2 '11 at 19:38

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