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in French, what's the difference between quelquefois and quelques fois

Quelquefois and quelques fois: what’s the difference?

by | 4 Aug 2018 | French Language

 

When you hear the French say quelquefois and quelques fois, you will notice the pronunciation is exactly the same. However, if you see those words in a text when reading in French, you may wonder what the difference is. Also, if you are writing, you need to spell them correctly.

All you need is make sure you understand the difference between quelquefois –without an s and in one word– and quelques fois –with an s at the end of quelques et in two separate words–.

 

Quelquefois, in one word, is an adverb. Most of the time, it is used with a verb and is a synonym of the adverb parfois (i.e. “sometimes”). See it as a frequency word that describes a degree of frequency somewhere between always and never.

  • Je vais quelquefois rendre visite à mes grands-parents. (I sometimes go and visit my grandparents)
  • Ils mangent quelquefois du poisson, mais pas très souvent. (They sometimes eat fish, but not very often.)

 

Quelques fois, in two words, means “a few times”. You can easily replace quelques fois by plusieurs fois (several times) or, even better, by 2 ou 3 fois (a couple of times). Quelques fois is sometimes (quelquefois !) used with que or seulement :

  • J’ai visité le Louvre quelques fois. (I visited the Louvre a few times)
  • Je ne l’ai vue que quelques fois. (I only met her a couple of times)
  • Il est allé à l’étranger quelques fois seulement. (He’s been abroad a few times only).

 

That’s all! Remember both quelquefois and quelques fois are pronounced the same way, but as usual in a conversation, the context will help you understand which one the speaker is using.

 

Memo :

quelquefois → one word → sometimes 

quelques fois → 2 words → a couple of times, a few times 

 

There you are! You now know the difference between quelquefois and quelques fois in French. Congratulations! 😉

 

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