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By itself, I would say that 「ただいま」 means something like "just now". I've used it a few times in sentences like this, but it feels somewhat awkward, as I am always reminded of ただいま戻【もど】りました.

So, for example, would ただいま in the following sentence sound unnatural/awkward?

ただいま、面【おも】白【しろ】い事【こと】に気【き】づきました。

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As istrasci says, can be a rather formal word to use. But it also has uses outside of the super formal ceremonial use - you still hear it fairly often in announcements, as in those you would hear in an ad or department store.

One common use is with a noun that ends with 中

You've probably heard this in an ad before:

只今、発売中

I just saw this when watching a comedy show when the lead character is doing nothing:

只今アイドリング中

Also I have heard in this use case when some status is being reported:

只今、到着しました。

This can also be totally informal such as:

只今起きた

只今食べた

You can also say 只今気づいた but my gut feeling is that you can't add the 面白いこと in there without being awkward, even though it doesn't seem to break any grammatical rules. I don't have anything to back this up other than most of the 只今 cases I've heard have been short examples with just the verb or a noun. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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I was having a bit of trouble thinking of an example sentence to use, and I just ended up with that. It's interesting that it sounds odd to you though. –  atlantiza Dec 1 '11 at 7:19
    
Yeah, again, my judgement is totally subjective, so if you've heard stuff like 只今、面白い事に気付いた just let me know and i'll edit it, besides learning something. Right now 先、面白い事に気付いた feels better to me though. –  jlptn1 Dec 1 '11 at 7:24
    
I hadn't heard that sentence anywhere; I just made it up. As you said, I think I've heard 「只今、発売中」 before, but when I was writing the question, I couldn't think of any actual examples I'd heard. I think I started using 只今 on its own (as in without 戻りました) without hearing it, assuming it was probably possible. I wasn't really sure how it sounded to fluent or native speakers though, hence why I created this question. Thanks so much for your answer. :) –  atlantiza Dec 2 '11 at 2:37
    
ah, I didn't realize you were the OP. Doh. –  jlptn1 Dec 2 '11 at 4:59
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@atlantiza I'd probably say たったいま起きた/たったいま食べた/たったいま起きました/たったいま食べました (たったいま食べたところです would sound more natural though) but not ただいま起きた/ただいま食べた, probably because the verbs 起きた/食べた are too casual for 'ただいま~~', and たったいま is OK because it sounds more casual than ただいま. I wouldn't say ただいま面白いことに気づきました either, I'd say たったいま面白いことに気づきました. –  Chocolate May 28 '12 at 23:15
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Yes. If you say ただいまより, it's like a really formal way to say 今【いま】から. I've heard it used at the beginning of formal ceremonies, esp. Western-style weddings. These situations may not occur very often, but it certainly seems "normal" to use such a formality.

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I use 只今 often in a business context, for instance when a customer over the phone wants to talk to X, but X is having a meeting:

只今会議中ですので、終わりましたらXよりお電話させていただきます。

Also: 只今外出中… (not at the office) 只今他の電話にでております… (answering another call) etc.

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