Difference between “sometime”, “sometimes” and “some time”

The word “sometimes” has the stress on the first syllable, and is used to mean “occasionally” or “once in a while”.

*The boys sometimes go to their favourite restaurant for masala dosas.  *Sometimes, the students sit in the canteen and do their homework.

In the case of “some time”, both words are stressed. It means “a lot of time”.

*I am afraid it will take us some time to find a replacement for this part.

Like the word “sometimes”, “sometime” has the stress on the first syllable, and is often used to mean “one day”. It refers to an unspecified period of time in the future or the past.

*I told Sadanand that I would meet him sometime next week.

The word can also be used with people. When you refer to someone as a “sometime CEO”, what you mean is that the individual held the position of a CEO in the past. He is not a CEO now.

*Divya, the sometime Director of Cultural Academy visited me last week.

Source:  ‘Know Your English’ Series – The Hindu Daily, August 29 , 2005.

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