I would like to know whether there is a difference in meaning of the following phrases:
1. Every now and then;
2. Every once in a while. I know that they both mean occasionally, but is that all? There are no any other differences?

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  • Funny that you ask the question.., I was going through my NASB version bible and looking at the historical books, the books of 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings, 1, 2 Chronicles and the prophets.. Almost every single chapter begins with the words ' Now', 'And' & ''Then'.. Not only the chapters, but most of the paragraphs as well.. Now I'm thinking.., maybe there is a broader context to the application and use of these particular words..? Then again, maybe it is purely a random expression because it is so universal..? I noticed that I have applied the same principle in the above paragraph. 😄😄😄‼️ – user32028 Mar 25 '16 at 11:32

Nope, there is no real difference that I can see. I'd love to see an example, in context, where there is a difference in meaning, but I'm not seeing one at all. Further, I would say that the two phrases are equivalent as far as how commonly they are used and how easily they will be understood.

At this point, I will say that they are interchangeable.

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    Thank you, Jolene! As far as “how easily they will be understood” I can bet that’s for natives. – Lucian Sava Mar 13 '14 at 11:06
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    It's fair to say that "from the point of view of the native speaker" is the ONLY way I can answer questions with any authority. :) – Jolenealaska Mar 13 '14 at 11:10

Both of these two phrases mean occasionally But I think that the periods in once in a while are shorter than them in every now and then.

Although the time is unknown.

  • Welcome to English Language Learners! While this may be correct, we like our answers to be backed up by references. You can edit your answer to include one (e.g. an online dictionary). See the Help Center article How to Answer. – Glorfindel Jun 27 '20 at 7:10

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