English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Are those expressions equivalent, or which one should be preferred?

For instance:

I should finish this work sometimes next week


I should finish this work sometime next week

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Although they look similar and are both adverbs, they are not equivalent.

  • Sometime means "someday, at some time, at some point; during, in the course of.", and it's the word you want to use in this case.

I should finish this work sometime/at some time/during next week.

As you can see, replacing it, it still makes sense.

  • Sometimes, instead, means "occasionally, from time to time, now and then, etc."

If you try to replace it now, it won't make sense:

I should finish this work sometimes/from time to time next week.

This last one should be used for example to say:

Sometimes I like taking a walk. (which becomes) From time to time, I like taking a walk.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, also for the tip on how to distinguish them! – nico May 2 '11 at 8:43
@nico: you're welcome! Sometimes substituting expressions can help you to see if it was correct, but not all can be substituted as is. I mean, sometimes you must add/remove a preposition, etc... – Alenanno May 2 '11 at 8:51

sometime means "at a single unspecified point in time."

sometimes means "at various unspecified points in time."

When you say "I should finish this work..." you're talking about specific work, and it's only logical that said work can only become finished at one point in time, so only "sometime" makes sense.

share|improve this answer
So, what about something that you can do several time? Can you say I will have a beer sometimes next week?. – nico May 3 '11 at 4:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.