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I would like to find a way to express the meaning of "at some time". For example:

I think everyone has his study or working rhythm at a time. This rhythm varies for different person, and may be different at a different time for the same person. Especially it can change over time as he becomes more experienced. So pacing them at a pre-fixed pace may not work well.

At a time sounds awkward to me. What do you think?

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@JasperLoy: at a particular time he has a particular rhythm that works best for him –  Tim Oct 31 '11 at 18:20
    
Let me use a metaphor: frequency of vibration. –  Tim Oct 31 '11 at 18:23
    
Is this a passage somewhere that you read? Or are you composing this yourself? –  Mitch Nov 1 '11 at 12:25
    
@Mitch: It is mine words. How bad is it? –  Tim Nov 1 '11 at 14:13
    
@Time: I was just wondering the direction of the question, reading or composition. Others have addressed how good it sounds. –  Mitch Nov 1 '11 at 15:59
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You're right; it is awkward. I would use at any given time:

I think everyone has his own study or working rhythm at any given time. This rhythm varies between different people, and may be different at different times for the same person.

I changed at a different time to the plural, since the rhythm can't be different at a single time.

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I would prefer to read something like

I think everyone has a study or working rhythm. This rhythm varies between different people, and may be different at different times for the same person. In particular, it can increase over time as individuals become more experienced. So pacing everyone at the same pre-fixed rate may not work well.

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Thanks! If not considering the example, do you have a better idea to say "at a time"? –  Tim Oct 31 '11 at 18:13
    
Sometimes "at a particular time" may be better than "at a time". It all depends on the context. "The animals entered the ark two at a time" works for me. –  Henry Oct 31 '11 at 18:15
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In principle "at a time" would work, but the phrase "n at a time" (meaning "in groups of n items") is so prevalent that it interferes with interpreting the phrase in another way: my reaction on reading your sentence is first to be confused, and then a moment later to go "Oh, I see, that's what it means".

As soon as you put a qualifying word (such as "particular", or "any given", as suggested in other answers) this rules out the other meaning and it becomes clear.

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