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I have read this sentence, but cannot understand the meaning of every once in a while:

My dad, he's on Facebook every once in a while.

Can anyone explain it?

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closed as general reference by RegDwigнt Jul 17 '12 at 18:53

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It means sometimes, every so often, without regularity:

My dad, he's on Facebook sometimes.

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The "while" here indicates a period of time and "once in a while" implies something that happens infrequently during said period. The "every" is optional.

The phrase is similar in structure to "every five minutes" and in meaning to another common phrase, "every now and then".

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