I see the expression "some of the time" being used quite often. For instance;

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." - Abraham Lincoln

I wonder if "some of the time" is exactly the same as "sometime" or is there any difference between the two?


  • 1
    I think sometimes would be a better substitute than sometime, particularly in contexts like the one you quote.
    – J.R.
    Sep 10, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


"Sometime" means that something will occur at an unspecified time, such as "he'll meet us sometime soon" - there is no direct statement of when exactly he'll arrive.

"...of the time" refers to probability, and it means that something would occur or happen with X reliability. In this case, you're using the determiner "some", which can mean about a 50/50 chance. For example, if I were to say that "the clock goes off some of the time," I would mean that the clock does not always go off. It does occasionally, but not always.

You might also be confusing "sometime" with "sometimes"; there is in fact a difference, like J.R.♦ pointed out. "Sometimes" means virtually the same thing as "some of the time" - in fact, it is literally a contraction of it. This is probably what you were looking for.

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