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One of my friend speaks sporadically (that is, not often) to me. How to express this in correct tense and words. How to ask him about this.

"Why you are talking sporadically to me?" is this correct

FYI - This my first post. If I have done any wrong tagging please forgive.

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    Your sentence is oddly phrased. It makes me think of the following nonsense conversation: "Hi... ... well ... around the... the thing is... ... ... ... the!" "Why are you talking sporadically to me?" That is, the present progressive combined with the unlikely term sporadically makes me think of a particularly unlikely interpretation.
    – user230
    Sep 19, 2013 at 18:30

4 Answers 4

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My answer is now edited according to the comments below. Thank you.


First of all, the sentence as you put it seems somehow unnatural. Better would be to reformulate it (using negative and plural) to something like:

Why don't we speak (to each other) more often/more regularly?


If you would insist on your structure (using positive), the better way would be to use present simple tense:

Why do you so rarely talk to me?

where you can replace the word rarely with other words here suggested such as: "occasionally" or yours "sporadically".


In general, your sentence is grammatically correct, but it is not the way native speaker would say it.

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    Your first rephrasing is fine, but the second one seems decidedly unnatural to me. Seldom is seldom used nowadays anyway, but quite apart from that, rarely is normally used before rather than after the verb, and "do-support" is more common than present continuous in such contexts. More credible would be "Why do you so rarely talk to me?", but to be honest I'm not convinced any variation on that particular theme would be particularly natural in modern speech. Sep 19, 2013 at 17:54
  • This answer does not address the question of if the tense is correct. It could also confuse the question asker by making them think their use of sporadically is totally incorrect.
    – ccanduc
    Sep 19, 2013 at 18:20
  • @ccanduc: What you said is precisely why I upvoted this question. Why don't we talk more often? is the way I'd say it.
    – J.R.
    Sep 19, 2013 at 20:50
  • @Fumble - How about, "Why do we talk so infrequently?" Still unnatural?
    – J.R.
    Sep 19, 2013 at 20:51
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    @FumbleFingers or should I improve my answer? I am always confused in these situations.
    – MasterPJ
    Sep 19, 2013 at 22:22
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There are a couple of words I can think of, depending on what meaning you are trying to convey:

Intermittently & Occasionally refer to a time between your friend speaking to you where the amount of time between times does not follow a pattern

Periodically would indicate that there is a regular amount of time between each time your friend talks to you (such as at 10:00 every day, or every Monday)

All will use the form Why you are [word here] talking to me?

If you desire the amount of talking to increase, then something like Why you are Only [word here] talking to me? would work

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Sporadically means

happening sometimes; not regular or continuous

It is a neutral term.

You seem unhappy with the pattern of your friend's communication. It is not as frequent as you would like. Probably a better word would be infrequently

not happening very often

While this can be a neutral term, in this context it suggests that you would like it to be more frequent.

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  1. Your original question should be corrected with: ("One of my friends") - otherwise it is correct.
  2. Your question to your friend is grammatically correct.
  3. Your question to your friend sounds somewhat unnatural. But not very unnatural. It sounds more natural as: "Why do you speak to me sporadically?"

Sporadically is a word that is not used very often. So it is unusual to hear it in this context - but replacing it with "more often" would not actually express what you are trying to ask!

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