I suppose the following expression is idiomatic

I’m the kind of person who needs new challenges to stay focused. I might even start my own business, because that’s something I’ve always wanted to do at some point in my life.

Obviously, "at some point" here refers to "a particular time in the future"

An ELL post("At one time", "at some point" or "one time"?) gives these examples

I injured my back so badly, that at one time I couldn't even walk.

I injured my back so badly that at some point I couldn't even walk.

Both are used to talk about past.

Another post (At some point "in future" or "in the future") uses "at some point" to talk about future.

I guess "at some point" could be used when talking about past though, it is more commonly used for future while "at one time" for past. Is my understanding?


I think the use of 'at some point' when talking about the past is more generic and imprecise than in the answer given above.

'I injured my back so badly that at one point I couldn't walk': In British English this would be the correct construction. The speaker is not saying exactly when they couldn't walk but it is clear that they know when this was.

'At some point about 10 thousand years ago formerly nomadic peoples started settling in river valleys'. We know that this happened but we have no idea exactly when it was.

'At one time' suggests that at another time things were different.

'At one time all the various forerunners of homo sapiens lived in East Africa. At some point some of them started migrating northwards.'

NB: bad versus badly: I had a bad back (adjective 'bad': describes the noun 'back'). I injured my back badly (adverb 'badly': describes the verb 'injured').

  • Thank you. In conclusion, "at some point" are commonly used for both future and past, right? – WXJ96163 Feb 27 '20 at 9:36
  • Using "At one time" generally indicates that you are are talking about something that happened in the past but is no longer true in the present. "At some point" is used for both past and future, and when speaking of the past is ambiguous about whether it is true in the present. – windblade May 29 at 5:56

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