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  • 私はこの仕事をただちにしなければならない。
  • 私はこの仕事をすぐにしなければならない。

2 Answers 2

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In addition to what naruto said, IMO ただちに emphasises how there is nothing in between, whereas with すぐ the emphasis is on how close in time it is.

E.g. if one says ただちに離陸します it means there is nothing that prevents the airplane from taking off (as in the airplane must be ready). すぐに離陸します means it will take off very soon but there might still be thing to do before taking off (like the pilot settling in).

Another example is, if you don't have shoes on and say ただちに家を出た it implies you went out without the shoes, whereas with すぐ家を出た it could be that you put your shoes on.

Tho come to think of it if you emphasize すぐに it will also mean “without doing anything else” (but imo ただちに always means without doing anything else).

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Both sentences are correct, and they mean roughly the same thing. However, there are two differences:

  • ただちに sounds more urgent.
  • ただちに is much more formal. Small kids are unlikely to use it.

So you can think すぐに is like "at once" and ただちに is closer to "immediately".

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  • 4
    As a native English speaker I don't feel any difference between "at once" and "immediately" in terms of urgency. If you forced me to make a difference I'd say that "at once" sounds slightly more old-fashioned and formal, in which case I'd swap your definitions around. But I think that would be highly subjective. Mar 29 at 17:19
  • @user3856370 - Would "right away" be closer to すぐに in terms of both urgency and formality?
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 29 at 22:03
  • @aguijonazo 'Right away' would certainly be the least formal of the three options, but again I don't really feel any difference in urgency or immediateness. I'm not sure English can make that distinction with just a single word. As a mere scientist rather than a linguist I'd be interested in other people's ideas though. Mar 29 at 22:53
  • @user3856370 - I think "shortly" might sound less urgent than "immediately."
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 29 at 23:46
  • @user3856370: As a native English speaker I don't feel any difference between "at once" and "immediately" in terms of urgency. Really? Like if someone told you to do something "immediately", I would think they want you to take action AND complete it like right now. Whereas if you were told to do something "at once", then yes, they may expect you to take action right away, but its time-to-completion might take a while. That's the feeling I get.
    – istrasci
    Mar 30 at 5:52

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