Word Confusion: Some Time vs Sometime vs Sometimes

Posted January 19, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 11 October 2017

This word confusion seems easy, at first, to chat about, but then those differences between sometime and sometimes seem a bit minute.

Some time is easy enough, as it’s used to indicate a great length of time. To convey the impression that the event has gone on for ages. We talked for hours, the summit went on for days, he bored on forever *grin*.

Then we get to sometime. It’s almost dismissive. A one time or now-and-then sort of feel.

Sometimes is more upbeat with its sense of every once in a while. As well, lol, it feels as though there’s a bit of a surprise in it when someone uses it.

I know that sometimes I go on and on about a word confusion, and at others, I’m rather brief. That’s the nature of the wordplay — and my mood at the time!

There will be a sometime when I may actually come to an end with the confusions, but as I look over my list of still-to-comes, it will be some time before that end arrives.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Some Time Sometime Sometimes
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Dog watching a ball

“She Stood Like This For Quite Some Time” by Spider.Dog from United Kingdom is under the CC-BY-2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

A waterfront in Oregon with ships sailing and docked

“Coquille (Oregon) Waterfront, Sometime Before 1895” by Mtsmallwood is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Gigantic and fanciful purple pitcher plant

“Sometimes You’re the Pitcher Plant, Sometimes the Bug” by USCapitol is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective; Adverb Adverb
Used when speaking about some thing that will last for a fairly long time

To refer to a fairly short period of time, don’t use some. Say a short time or use a few in front of a word such as hours or months.

An impressive or large, considerable amount of time




At some unspecified or unknown time

[Archaic] At one time, formerly

Occasionally rather than all of the time
I need some time.

It was some time ago.

I spent some time trying to convince her.

We talked for some time.

It will take some time, you know.

You will be unable to drive for some time after the operation.

The sometime editor of the paper

A sometime contributor

You must come and have supper sometime.

Sometime after six everybody left.

The Emperor Constantine used this speech sometime unto his bishops.

Sometimes, I want to do things on my own.

Sometimes you amaze me.

He sometimes goes to America.

Sometimes he seems very forgetful.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Traditional Phone Call at Midsummer Festival by Jeroen Komen in the lower left corner is distantly connected to Phone Call on Beach by Peter Drier (Flickr) — both are under the CC BY 2.0 license. Their opposing corner positions represent the distance of that conversation as Daniel B. Wood, Master of theBenjamin Tucker, doodles away during a voyage from 18 July 1849–1 June 1851 with this image provided by Internet Archive Book Images (with no restrictions). All three are via Wikimedia Commons.