General Writing and Grammar Help/Some time - sometime

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Question
Dear Ted:

The following sentence is taken from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/OVER

Why don't you ask them over some time?

My question is this:

Why "some time" (two words) AND NOT "sometime" (one word)?

Isn't "sometime" an adverb in the above sentence?

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

The following sentence is taken from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/OVER

Why don't you ask them over some time?

My question is this:

Why "some time" (two words) AND NOT "sometime" (one word)?

Isn't "sometime" an adverb in the above sentence?

*** I really do not like the "learners dictionary" website.  Although it is a product of the Merriam-Webster Company, some of its examples are questionable.

There are people who argue that "some time" and "sometime" mean the same thing, and that argument is true.  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?

I have "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary" in front of me now.  The word "sometime" is listed as an adverb.  There are two examples:  (1) I'll do it sometime.  (2) Sometime last night.

Both examples mean WHEN, but the time is not definite.  The sentence you have quoted from The Learners Dictionary is the same.  The time for "asking them over" is not specific.  

You are correct in believing that "sometime" is the better choice.  Unfortunately, there are many inconsistencies in the English language.

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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