• Lucas North

Come with me now on a journey through time and space

THE UK GOVERNMENT has asked us to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

So, if you were describing this situation, would you write that you’re spending sometime indoors…

… or would you write you’re spending some time indoors?

Or would you simply write that you now only go out sometimes?

Yes, unfortunately, they are all different. So let’s spend, erm, some time looking at how to use them correctly.

Sometime in the future

The Oxford English Dictionary describes the adverb sometime thus: ‘At some unspecified or unknown time.’

So, we could say that we’re pretty confident that the lockdown will end sometime in the future… and, hopefully, sooner rather than later.

But sometime can also be used as an adjective, meaning former. To use it in this way, we could write that the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, is a sometime journalist because Boris used to write for the Daily Telegraph.

Time and space

Now, let’s go back to the one with a space. Obviously, some time isn’t a single word: it’s a phrase that means a period of time. Sometimes (sorry, we’ll look at sometimes below) some time means quite a long period of time.

So, you could write that we will have to wait some time before we can all go to the pub or the park together. Which means we all have to wait for quite a while before we can do the stuff we used to do, pre-coronavirus.

But then something funny happens when you push the words back together and add an ‘s’ on the end.

The OED describes the adverb sometimes as: ‘Occasionally, rather than all the time.’

Languishing in lockdown

So, you would be using it correctly if you wrote: ‘Sometimes, I get a bit bored during the lockdown.’

Yes, it is a bit confusing. You may just need to spend some time getting to grips with the nuanced definitions of sometime, some time and sometimes.

Luckily, you have the whole of the Easter break to do it.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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