How to Use "Once" Correctly?
Posted by Issa and Published on Sep 18, 2012
"Once" can be used either as an adverb or a conjunction. As adverb, "once" means "at some time" referring only to the past; however, when "once" exactly means "one time" (not twice or thrice), it can be used to talk about any time, even the future.
Once = "at some time" (past)
- I was once at home, strong, happy, and loved.
- Once we diverted her luggage when she traveled.
- What is the biggest lie you once believe was true?
- The audience had already heard the story more than once and were tired of it.
- It was evident he had reflected on this subject more than once.
- I'm only going to say this once so listen carefully.
When "once" functions as a conjunction, it means "as soon as" or "after", which is often used with a perfect tense.
- Once he settles into a place of any kind - a town, a home, or even a chair - he is disinclined to move.
- Once they have made a decision, they adhere to it with great tenacity.
- They love few; but once having become enamored are not easily turned aside.
Meanwhile, the common phrase "at once" means "immediately". Check out a few examples:
- I must pack at once, for I have only half an hour.
- "At once? This instant!… No, it can't be!" she thought.
- At once, that very instant, her fate would be decided.
- I'll send someone at once. He shall be taken away - taken away at once.