Sometime means “at some point.”
Sometime also means “former.”
Some time means “a period of time”—usually a long period of time.
Sometimes means “occasionally.”
What is the difference between sometime and some time? And where does sometimes fit into the equation? Don’t worry, the answer is simpler than you might think.
Sometime: One Word
There are two ways to use sometime as one word. Let’s tackle the harder one first.
When you use sometime as an adverb, it refers to an unspecified point in time. It doesn’t refer to a span of time—that’s what some time is for.
Here’s an example of sometime used in a sentence.
I’ll get around to finishing that book sometime. – Egyszer majd eljutok odáig, hogy befejezzem ezt a könyvet.
In the sentence above, we’re not talking about how long it will take to finish the book (span of time); we’re talking about when the book will be finished (point in time). You can usually replace sometime with someday or at some point when it’s used this way.
I’ll get around to finishing that book someday.
I’ll get around to finishing that book at some point.
Here are a few more examples:
Give me a call sometime, and we’ll have coffee. – Hívj fel valamikor, és leülünk kávézni!
We’ll announce a release date sometime soon. – Hamarosan mostanában be fogjuk jelenteni a megjelenés dátumát.
Tony needs to stop by the bank sometime today. – Tony-nak ma valamikor be kell ugrania a bankba.
OK, now let’s talk about the other way to use sometime. When you use sometime as an adjective, it just means “former.” Sometime should always be one word when you’re using it as an adjective.
Albert, a sometime cab driver, now flies airplanes for a living. – Albert, az egykori taxisofőr, manapság pilótaként dolgozik.
In the sentence above, sometime cab driver means “former cab driver.” Some writers use sometime to mean “occasional,” but that usage isn’t accepted by everybody. If you’re not sure whether your audience will interpret sometime as “former” or “occasional,” it may be a good idea to avoid the ambiguity and use more specific terms.
And, remember, when you use sometime as an adjective, don’t put an s at the end of it.
“Albert, a sometimes cab driver, now flies airplanes for a living.” – is bad usage
Some Time: Two Words
When some time is two words, it refers to a span of time. In fact, it often means “a long time.”
For some time, humans have known that the world is round. – Az emberek már jó ideje tudják, hogy a világunk gömbölyű.
In the sentence above, we’re talking about a long span of time—several centuries, in fact. That’s definitely a long time.
For a long time, humans have known that the world is round.
Let’s look at another example:
It will take some time to finish the project today. – Hosszú időbe fog telni ma a projekt befejezése.
Again, we’re talking about a span of time, so some time should be two words.
It will take a long time to finish the project today.
Sometimes: One Word
Sometimes is a one-word adverb that means “occasionally” or “now and then.”
Sometimes I just don’t understand what that man is saying. – Időnként egyszerűen nem értem, amit az az ember mond.
English grammar sometimes follows its own rules, and sometimes it doesn’t. – Az angol nyelvtan időnként betartja a saját szabályait, időnként viszont nem.
Everybody hurts sometimes.- Mindenkinek vannak fájdalmai időnként.
Plenty of writers have trouble remembering how to use some time, sometime and sometimes. The good news is that once you understand the difference between some time vs. sometime, it gets easier to understand other tricky pairs like any time vs. anytime and any more vs. anymore.
Which one would you use in the following sentences? Sometime, sometimes or some time?
1. John said we would get married ………. soon, but I no longer believe him!
2. I ………. feel happy ………. sad. Life is like that.
3. She has lived in France for ………. and now speaks perfect French.
4. We should meet ………. . I miss you.
5. His ………. friend will be here for the weekend. I’m very excited.
6. You will have to meet her ………! So why not now?
7. ………. it’s better to obey the rules.
8. It takes ………. , but it’s worth the trouble.
9. I’ll call you ………. during the week and we’ll arrange a meeting.
10. My ………. teacher always said that it takes ………. time to learn a language well.
2. sometimes, sometimes
3. some time
8. some time
9. some time
10. sometime, some time