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7 Alternatives for "Sometimes"

7 Alternatives for "Sometimes"

How often do you…

…go out to eat?

…travel abroad?

…meet with friends?

…brush your teeth?

Naturally, we all do some activities more than we do others.

In daily conversations, it is very common to use "sometimes" when discussing these activities — either because it is accurate or because it's the safest word for being vague, or unclear, about how often something happens.

But there are many other ways to express the same idea. This article will introduce alternatives to help you expand your vocabulary and to help keep your conversations more interesting.

Adverbs of frequency

A person's hand checking boxes next to adverbs of frequency

Hopefully you already know the common words for talking about how often something happens. However, in case you don't, here is a quick summary: 

Think of these adverbs like a scale, with "never" being 0%, meaning something does not happen. At the top of the scale is the adverb for 100%, or "always." 

I never smoke cigarettes.
(I do not smoke cigarettes. / 0%)
She always calls me when she gets home from work.
(She calls every time. / 100%)

In between those two, we have "rarely" (~20-30%), "sometimes" (~50%) and "often" or "frequently" ~80%.

Because of its position in the middle of the frequency list, "sometimes" is used quite a lot. However, it doesn't always equal exactly 50%; it could be a little more or a little less, depending on the situation.

Since you'll be talking about this frequency often, try one of the alternatives below to keep things fresh.

Alternatives for “sometimes”

From time to time

A group of people having a good time at the beach

This expression is an informal way to say that something does happen but not very often.

We like to visit the beach from time to time.
I cook from time to time, but I'm not very good at it.

Once in a while

All of the expressions introduced in this article roughly equal “sometimes,” but there are still small differences in nuance for each. For example, “once in a while” sounds closer to rarely and expresses a lower frequency.

Once in a while, I’ll eat a meal at that expensive restaurant downtown.
The store usually doesn't have sales, but they have special campaigns once in a while.


This can also be expressed with “on occasion,” which sounds a bit more formal.

Occasionally, we’ll go on our family vacations by car instead of flying.
I go to the movie theater on occasion, but I prefer to watch movies at home.

Every now and then

Two couples toasting with glasses of champange

This is another casual alternative for “sometimes,” but it expresses a frequency lower than 50%.

Every now and then I’ll go to the sauna to relax.
They don’t live very close, so they only come to visit every now and then.

This expression is sometimes changed to “every now and again.”

It’s a good idea to back up the important files on your phone and computer every now and again.

Every so often

This is very similar to the previous expression.

Every so often we like to go on a relaxing day trip to a new area. Last time, we went to the sea.

When the mood strikes

A woman painting at a table with many art supplies

This is an informal way of saying “whenever I get the feeling.” This means it can’t be included on our frequency scale; instead, it only happens at special times that cannot be planned or predicted.

I like to paint when the mood strikes, so I keep some art supplies handy.


Sporadic” is an adjective meaning “happening infrequently.” Therefore, “sporadically” is similar to “when the mood strikes” — it happens suddenly or unexpectedly. 

It rains sporadically in this area.

As responses

Remember that all of these expressions can also be used alone as a response to a question about frequency.

Do you listen to jazz music?
Every now and then.
Do you go jogging a lot?
From time to time. It depends on the weather that day.


Being vague when discussing how often something happens is very convenient, especially if an accurate answer isn't necessary. So instead of simply repeating the same word, try some of these alternatives in your next English conversation. 

Using these expressions naturally will definitely bring you closer to native-level English, so be sure to study hard every day, not only once in a while!