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I am wondering how native speakers would interpret this sentence:

Er geht jetzt in die Stadt.

Does it mean that he has not left yet, but he is on the verge of making his way (out), which is close to "Er geht jetzt weg." and "Er will jetzt in die Stadt gehen"?

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It depends on the context how it is interpreted. Most likely, your sentence connotes that he will do this shortly.

A: Ist Herr Mustermann noch da?
B: Ja, aber er geht jetzt in die Stadt.

The same sentence could also describe what is happening at the moment. (Although gerade instead of jetzt would be more likely.)

SWAT policeman via radio: Er hat soeben das Haus verlassen, und er geht jetzt in die Stadt.

Finally, "jemand geht jetzt" can describe a contemporary situation without it happening at the moment.

Er geht jetzt zur VHS (Volkshochschule - adult education centre). (=> He's attending a class, but we don't know what he's doing right at this moment as we speak.)

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  • Thanks for your reply. In the second example, does ,,er geht gerade/jetzt in die Stadt'' mean that 'he is now on the (half)way to the (inner) city'?
    – Lynnyo
    Mar 27 '17 at 9:34
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    Whereever, if halfway, if quarterway, if threequarterway... he is currently somewhere between A and B, and keeps going. Apr 4 '17 at 12:47

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