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What is the difference between "often" and "oftentimes"? Is there any difference between the two?

  • Oftentimes is dated/archaic/dialectal/folksy/quaint. Your best bet is never to use it. – FumbleFingers Aug 1 '15 at 11:37
  • OALD labels "oftentimes" as "old use or AmE". – rogermue Aug 2 '15 at 1:55
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The placement of oftentimes is more restricted than that of often. Oftentimes has to precede the event it modifies. The event described happens often, but not often enough to constitute a general rule.

Good:

Oftentimes, Henry will find himself at the pub, catching up with friends.

Bad:

Brownouts have been affecting the area lately, so save your work early and oftentimes.

It's not really a typical adverb, more of an introductory word. It's used much the same way that "hopefully" is used, as a modifier to the entire sentence.

Hopefully, this explanation has been helpful to you.

Caution should be exercised when attempting to use this word. You can use often in place of oftentimes, but not vice versa. You should probably save oftentimes for fiction writing, if you use it at all. It's definitely a word you don't want to use too often.

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