Vocabulary – Sometimes, Sometime & Some Time

by Melanie on April 22, 2010

Sometimes, sometime, and some time are very different words so you need to be careful when you use them. These are words that even native speakers get confused with!


1. Sometimes is an adverb of frequency. Think of it as halfway between never and always.

Example sentences:

Sometimes I am so tired I can’t get out of bed!

He sometimes plays tennis instead of going to the gym.

We like to go to the beach on vacation sometimes.


2. Sometime (no ‘s’) is also an adverb, but it is used to talk about an unspecified point in the future or an unspecified point in the past.

Example sentences:

We should get together for coffee sometime!

Sometime soon I would like you to clean your room!

The accident occurred sometime before 6pm.


3. When you use some time, it’s like saying ‘some food’ or ‘some people’ – some is used to talk about how much of the noun time you have or want.

Example sentences:

Do you have some time to check my essay?

She has some time to spend in her garden now that she has quit her job.

Take some time to think about the offer before you accept or decline it.

He was able to buy some time by saying his wife was out of town & he can’t make a decision without her.
(idiom: to buy time = to get more time; he wanted more time to make a decision so he said he couldn’t make a decision without his wife.)


You might also like to read:
Vocabulary: Everyday or every day?.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paolo July 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

The following sentence is taken from a grammar book titled the Oxford Guide to English Grammar:

“You are coming back some time.”

Would you please explain why “some time” (two words) AND NOT “sometime” (one word)?

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.



Melanie 2 Melanie July 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Hi, Paolo!

I cannot explain why that sentence was used in the Oxford Guide to Grammar. What was the context in which the sentence was used?

“You are coming back sometime” is the correct sentence. It means “You are coming back at some unknown point in the future.”

I hope that helps!
= )


3 aptunique November 22, 2012 at 8:03 am

very good, excellent, its very helpful.


4 chris January 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you so much for the useful explanation ! It helps a lot ! :D


5 Kelly Yim February 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

Overall, very clear explanation! Thank you.
There is one example sentence that was not clear.
“She has some time to spend in her garden now that she’s quit her job.”
“she’s quit” is confusing. Shouldn’t it be “she quit” or “she has quit”?


6 Jacques-Alix Louis (JAL) March 9, 2013 at 3:15 am

I believe that here we have a contraction of she has quit = she’s quit


Melanie 7 Melanie March 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm

You are absolutely correct, Jacques-Alix! In this case ‘she’s’ was a contraction of ‘she has.’ I have changed the post to say ‘she has’ so it will be less confusing.

= )


8 kartik April 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

She fell asleep after sometime or sometimes


Melanie 9 Melanie April 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm

She fell asleep after some time.


10 Kris April 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

Thank a lot for enthusiasm about take the less for confusing.
I hope all of you give more title than for get more knowledge.
As always, Get respect for you.


11 Claire James January 29, 2014 at 10:10 am

What about these:-
Some time previous to 1985, Jimmy and Edgar had successfully installed a nice new window in the lounge.
I think it must have been some time in 1984 that ……..
I’m not certain when it was, but at some time while they were living there ………
At some time, we also had a much lighter replacement fire-grating made ……..

Am I right in thinking that the first two should have been “sometime”? But what about the second two?


Melanie 12 Melanie January 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hi, Claire!

You are correct! In all four sentences, it should have been “sometime.”

= )


13 khizer March 20, 2014 at 4:18 am

hi ,,,,,,,,, can you tell me that, what is the difference between SOMETIME and SOMETIMES ?


14 Mark October 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

What about this use of “sometime?”
It may well seem from the outside to be a sometime odd institution.


Melanie 15 Melanie October 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I think “somewhat” should be used instead:

“It may well seem from the outside to be a somewhat odd institution.”

= )


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