What's the difference between 'some time' and 'sometime'?

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #276 [color=blue]“If memory serves me right”, question 8

Pete: It have been some time in 1947, I’m sure of that.

(a) could
(b) would
(c) must
(d) may

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #276 [color=blue]“If memory serves me right”, answer 8

Pete: It must have been some time in 1947, I’m sure of that.

Correct answer: (c) must

What’s the difference between ‘some time’ and ‘sometime’?

And wouldn’t you agree that this test needs the latter? :wink:

[size=75][color=blue]ESL teacher, translator, and a native speaker of American English[/size]

‘Would’ works for me as an answer, too.

I agree with you, MM.

The ‘sure’ decides the ‘must’ and ‘some time’ means that the speaker has no idea about the exact date and time but sure of the year. ‘Sometimes’ generally indicates frequency and not time.


My “question” was not about some time vs sometimes, nanucbe.

This test sentence should use sometime (one word) rather than some time (two words). You defined ‘sometime’ in your post. ‘Some time’ is something else altogether.

Definition of ‘sometime’

Still no changes? :shock:

Two changes are needed:

  1. Change ‘some time’ to ‘sometime’.
  2. Change option (b) to something else.

Here are my suggestions:

Pete: It … have been [color=blue]sometime in 1947, I’m sure of that.

(a) could
[color=blue]b might[/b]
© must
(d) may

Hi Alan and Torsten

If you feel no changes/corrections are appropriate in this test, how about a little bit of feedback as to why.

I’m mystified.


Your tone always strikes me as that of the schoolmistress rebuking a recalcitrant student for not handing homework in on time. Let me demystify you - I am not accountable to you. I think it would be much better if you simply registered your disagreement and then moved on. This is what other native speakers do. Surely you must have other things to do with your time. Why not write some tests for us and then you can make all the points you like?

But, that said, as you have given me one source, here’s another to look at:

University of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford. OX1 2JD. UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 270000. Enquiries to Webmaster (ox.ac.uk/webmaster.html)

If that doesn’t demystify you, why not take it up with my Alma Mater, University of Oxford, details above.


Hi Yankee et all

Here I would have to agree that some time is a version that is common place in BE, even if not AE.

Maybe so us Brits do not confuse sometimes and sometime.

cheers stew.t.

Hi, Amy

Maybe my idea is crazy and beside the point, but nevertheless here it is: what if the person who said that phrase was reminiscing, and by saying “some time” he meant “quite a time” or “a great time”
Just wondering if it would work? :? :slight_smile:

It must have been some time in 1947, I’m sure you had fun back then

Thanks !

Hi Alan
This was the source I initially posted:
Isn’t that source somehow related to yours? (I hope you don’t think I should have written 'some how related’.) :shock: :wink:

Here are some additional sources for you:
dictionary.cambridge.org/define. … &dict=CALD
dictionary.cambridge.org/define. … 1+0&dict=A
merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/ … a=sometime
business-words.com/dictionar … #some_time

Do you feel that all of the dictionaries entries above are incorrect then? Even the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries? :wink:

You’ve given one example for the word ‘sometime’ used as an adjective. However, ‘sometime’ is also used quite regularly as an adverb – just as it was used in the test sentence.

It was already clear to me that typos can be found in native speaker writing. I’m also aware that some spelling errors are more typical than others for native speakers. Your examples of ‘some time’ as an adverb appear to be either typos or errors. What they do not appear to be is correct. :lol:

To me, writing ‘some time’ rather than ‘sometime’ is akin to writing ‘some where’ rather than ‘somewhere’.

You have a large collection of things on this site called ‘tests’. You’ve also got a number of forums for people who will be taking standardized tests. Was your post intended to present ‘some time’ as the standard spelling of the adverb ‘sometime’? Or was your post simply intended to illustrate that you are not the only one who has ever misspelled ‘sometime’? To be honest, the latter seems to be the case.

How about MM’s point? Any comment on that?

As usual you never refer to what I said. If you really want to be argumentative, try with someone else. I know you love to win at all costs. As I said, schoolmistress, please stick to what I said and stop putting words in my mouth like this:

Your mis leading questions are really a waste of time.

As for what Charles said, that is exactly what I mean. He has made a comment and left it at that. He doesn’t daily hound me with questions about it. I presume because he has a life outside this forum.


Misleading? Oh, come on, Alan! Don’t you think it’s a little misleading to post a bunch of sentences containing the same typo/error without identifying them as such?

I wasn’t aware that I’d put words in your mouth. I did ask few questions, though. You are aware that questions are often asked in order to clarify what some one (oops! I mean someone!) has said, aren’t you? :wink:

Having the last word!


That does sort of look like the way I feel when I read some of your posts. :wink:

Too kind!

That’s what I thought. :lol:

Hi Alex
Sorry I missed your post initially.
Yes, you’re right. That would be a possible way to use ‘some’. I’m not sure whether this usage exists in BE, however, and it definitely cannot be interpreted as the intended usage in the test sentence. It doesn’t fit the context.

The word ‘some’ can be used with a noun to indicate that the thing you are referring to is remarkable in its degree, intensity or quality. The sense could be either positive or negative:

  • That must have been some concert! I wish I could have gone.
  • She is some skater! Very few can do what she does, but she makes it all look so easy!
  • That was some blizzard we had last week!
  • That was some assignment! I thought I’d never finish the darn thing.
  • That was some pile-up on the interstate yesterday afternoon! There must have been a hundred cars involved.

The word ‘some’ and the noun are sometimes fronted (usually with a negative or sarcastic meaning):

  • Some friend he turned out to be! What a back-stabber!
  • Some explanation that was! I’m even more confused than I was before.

Did anyone really explain the differences here between

some time
and of course … sometimes


I got really confused …

Apparently so did Alan. :lol: