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.