My definite recollection is that at school, we were taught that there was a clear distinction between ‘at present’ and ‘presently’.
My brain has them filed as:
Presently : In a short time; soon
At present: Now
I recently spotted this sign on St Patrick’s Quay and it did prompt to ‘confirm’ that understanding prior to this blog. The results did not completely confirm.
Collins, Chambers and Macmillan state that ‘presently’ means both ‘at present’ and ‘soon’. Chambers indicates that the ‘now’ version came from America.
Macmillan categorises me as Old-Fashioned.
The Guardian and I are on the same page – I can live with that.
“presently adverb 1 soon; shortly. 2 N Amer, especially US at the present time; now”