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?

  • 1
    – Maulik V
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 10:59
  • 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
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


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. Commented Mar 13, 2014 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. :) Commented Mar 13, 2014 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.

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    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 7:10

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