Did you know that sometime and sometimes are different words and have different meanings in English? Here is a simple explanation of the difference:
“I sometimes eat pork.”
Meaning = you eat pork two or three times a week.
You don’t always eat pork (always = 100%, or 7 days a week), and you don’t never eat pork (never = 0%, or 0 days a week). You eat it sometimes (sometimes = 40-50%). Sometimes is an adverb and it tells you how often something happens. How often does it rain in Toronto? It sometimes rains in Toronto. It rains about two or three times a week.
Most students know how to use sometimes. The next word, sometime, is more difficult.
2) Sometime (with no ‘s’ at the end of the word)
“John wants to visit Belgium sometime.”
Meaning = John wants to visit Belgium but he doesn’t know when he will go.
In this sentence, sometime means an unspecified or unknown time. John wants to visit Belgium but he doesn’t know exactly when. But he wants to go sometime. Sometime is also an adverb. It has a similar meaning to one day. John wants to visit Belgium one day in the future (but he doesn’t know what day).
Let’s look at another example.
“Sometime on Sunday, someone stole my camera.”
Meaning = Someone stole my camera on Sunday but I don’t know at exactly what time.
This is similar to the first example but we are talking about the past. You know your camera was stolen on Sunday, but you don’t know when. It happened at an unknown time. It happened sometime on Sunday.
So, we can use sometime to talk about unspecified or unknown times in the past or future.
Do you think you understand?
Try this sometimes vs sometime quiz:
After school, I go to my friend Peter’s house. His house is close to our school. I want Peter to come to my house , but my house is far away. I don’t like my house. My father said we’ll move , but he didn’t say when. My house has many problems. My father built the house before I was born. He’s not a good builder. When it rains, water comes into my basement.
I hope this was helpful. If you want, please write a sentence using sometimes and sometime in the comments area below!
– Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com