General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: sometime - some time

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Question
Dear Ted:

I am sorry to get back to you with the same subject but I still need your help.

You wrote the following:

What I do not accept is that the word "sometime" is used as an adverb and an adjective.  Why use two words when one will suffice?

My question is:

Would you please explain the above part further?

Again, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Would you please explain the above part further?" correct and well-formulated?

Answer
Dear Paolo:

You wrote the following:

What I do not accept is that the word "sometime" is used as an adverb and an
adjective.  Why use two words when one will suffice?

My question is:

Would you please explain the above part further?

Again, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

*** I'll try to make my objection more clear.  The English language is always in transition.  Actually, all languages are, as new words make their way into our languages.  "Compound words" have been a confusing part of English.  Here's a "famous" example:  At one time, hundreds of years ago, the building that contained various official offices and courts was called a "court house."  [two words]

Over time, for a reason I have never been able to learn, it became the common practice to add a hyphen, "court-house."  Essentially, the two words became one, hyphenated word.  Then, after more years passed, the hyphen was dropped.  We now call the building a "courthouse."  That's ONE COMPOUND WORD.

SOMETIME is similar in many respects.  It began as two words and then became one word.  The "two-word" version still exists for special uses, such as "I will try to find some time to review your essay."   In most other instances, however, "sometime" -- as an adverb and an adjective -- is written as one, compound word.

In most cases, Paolo, English speakers don't even notice the difference between the two.  "The Learners Dictionary" does not have the "space" to go into a detailed explanation of the two uses.  That omission is misleading.  My printed dictionary gives definitions for both "sometime" and "some time."

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Would you please explain the above part further?" correct
and well-formulated?

*** YES, it is.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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