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"once in a blue moon" and "rarely" Options
raymondaliasapollyon
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 9:17:22 AM
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Joined: 7/14/2020
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Hi,

Does "once in a blue moon," an expression that means "rarely," also require inversion?


1. Rarely does he work at night.
2. He rarely works at night.
3. Once in a blue moon does he work at night.
4. He works at night once in a blue moon.

I'd appreciate your help.


tautophile
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:43:20 AM
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Joined: 3/14/2018
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You can say either "Once in a blue moon does he work at night" (your sentence 3), or "Once in a blue moon he works at night" (your sentence 3 slightly revised) or "He works at night once in a blue moon" (your sentence 4); they're all acceptable. The revised sentence 3 is probably the most natural and colloquial.

By the way, the use of the term "blue moon" for the second full moon in a calendar month appears to be a modern invention. There will be two full moons in time zones west of UTC+10h in October 2020 (on 1 Oct and 31 Oct). "Blue moons" in this sense are indeed rather uncommon: there have been only 7 in the last 10 years.

The famous pop song "Blue Moon" ("Blue moon, / You saw me standing alone...") was a 1934 hit by Rodgers and Hart.
BobShilling
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:55:31 AM
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Location: Beroun, Stredocesky, Czech Republic
raymondaliasapollyon wrote:
Hi,
3. Once in a blue moon does he work at night.


That appears most unnatural to me.
raymondaliasapollyon
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:38:14 PM
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Joined: 7/14/2020
Posts: 130
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Is the following correct?

Rarely he works at night. (No inversion)

georgew
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:59:34 PM

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Joined: 8/13/2016
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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
raymondaliasapollyon wrote:
Is the following correct?

Rarely he works at night. (No inversion)


Yes, it's correct. More importantly, it's understandable and conveys a clear meaning.

Romany
Posted: Monday, September 14, 2020 10:18:24 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

It's true that most people (not all!) could understand you if you said it - but "Rarely he works at night" is not 'correct'.

However, as confirmed above, "Once in a blue moon he works at night." IS correct.
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