Someday vs. some day

The one-word adverb someday works when describing an indefinite future time (e.g., “I’d like to see him again someday”). Some day is two words when it refers to a single day, even if that day is unknown or not specified (e.g., “I have an appointment some day next month”).

The distinction is useful, but despite its usefulness and in spite of what usage authorities say, many writers use someday and some day more or less interchangeably.



She also sees the sunflower as someday becoming the official symbol of hope for those suffering from the disease. []

It is possible that, someday, the schools, libraries, fire stations and park pavilions built in 2010 will be seen as the best and most carefully designed of the decade. [Wall Street Journal]

Some day

It might be some day in the not too distant future. [ESPN]

One day in the future, near or far I don’t know, but some day down the road, Eagles’ fans will look back and long for the days of Andy Reid. []

5 thoughts on “Someday vs. some day”

  1. Add this one from today’s NYTimes:

    “Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat whose former aides say once saw himself as a presidential contender some day, was found guilty… “

  2. I wonder if there is something here regarding “no one” and “noöne”, which most people consider to be a misspelling (it got a red underline while being typed in!). However, especially in older texts, I’ve sometimes seen it conjoined.

    And for that why not reëntry, uncoördinated, coöperative, deëmphasize, deëscalate, reëducation, reënter, reëmbed, reënergize, cointegrate, coërce, coöpt, coöpted, coëlevate, and a host of others?

    Almost noöne puts the umlaut on top of the aberrantly pronounced second vowel. Hmmm…

    • You said there’s no explaining the umlaut over occurrences of naïve and naïveté, but that’s not entirely accurate. English borrowed “naïve” directly from Modern French with the diaeresis* mark already present, indicating a separation of the vowel sounds. Words like cooperative and reenter are of a different pedigree: Old French via Anglo-Norman. Neither Old French or Anglo-Norman used diaeresis marks, hence the reason those words doesn’t have diaeresis.

      *I have to explain that “umlaut” is not the correct term for this symbol. “Diaeresis” derives from the Greek word “to separate” or “put apart” so it more accurately describes the phenomenon of separating the two vowel sounds. “Umlaut” is a sound change where a vowel changes its quality to indicate different grammatical function (plurality, case, tense). So strictly, the change from “man” to “men” or from “goose” to “geese” is umlaut, even if those words don’t have the diaeresis symbol on them. On the other hand, the use of a diaeresis mark on “naïve” is not umlaut because it doesn’t change the quality of the vowel “i”, it merely indicates that they should be pronounced separately.

      • I stand corrected: ü has a diaeresis symbol over the ‘u’. It is a diacritical mark in the general sense. Perhaps for too long, it has also been lazily referred to as an umlaut … because enough people are familiar with the Germanic languages and Scandinavian branches, which use the thing heavily.

        I’m not quite sure I agree with the specificity of the difference though: English largely being an uninflected (orthographic-side) language, the use of diacritical marks is a continuüm between unusual accent hints, to fully ‘umlaut’ vowel pronunciation variant alerts. And, as such, one might reasonably abstract that all pronunciation variant hints and indicators are umlauts. I mean, it isn’t entirely unreasonable.

        Indeed: I might also argue that English consciously has chosen to be an almost completely unadorned-glyph language because it is widely spoken in a huge range of localized, or class-oriented variant forms. So that people just remember that “Cattywampus” is sometimes rhotized to “KAT-er-WUM-pəs” or not, depending on … depending. I’ve heard it at least 5 significantly different ways. Would be foolish to try to imbue diacritical marks and variant spellings on this infrequently used word that everyone recognizes immediately (in reading).

        Yours, GoatGuy


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