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Sometime vs. some time

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  • The one-word sometime refers to a vague, unspecified time—for example:

    Thousands of dollars were allegedly stolen from the bank’s ATM vault sometime between Friday and Sunday, according to the MCSO. [Ukiah Daily Journal]

    The session is due to start sometime next month though a date has yet to be finalized. [Wall Street Journal]

    It’s also adjective meaning either former or longtime—for example:

    Sometime D Magazine contributor Pam Kripke has taken to teaching English in a public school not so very far away. [D Magazine]

    As a sometime adviser to Republicans, I’d like to offer a few guidelines to understanding their approach to economic policy. [NY Times]

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    The two-word some time usually means quite a while—for example:

    It had been some time since Rebecca and her husband, Scott, had attended a church. [Utica Observer Dispatch]

    It also works where some is an adjective referring to time—for example:

    I’ve been spending some time thinking about income inequality for a piece I’m writing. [Washington Post]

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    Comments

    1. reardensteel says:

      In the second sense, isn’t it more like occasional?

      In both examples above, the subject is a current contributor or advisor, and it’s not known how long they’ve been doing those things.

      In fact, if you mean to say former, I prefer onetime.

    2. very helpful, thanks!

    3. Enrique Ricardo F. Montes says:

      “it had to happen some time” or should it be “sometime”?

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