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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 



Commonly-used idiomatic expressions.

 Expressions with ONCE 



Expression Meaning Example
at once At the same time; immediately -You can't ride two horses at once.
-I recognized the man at once.
all at once Suddenly, without warning All at once a storm broke out and we ran for shelter.”
all at once Simultaneously "One at a time please, not all at once." 
for once
just this once
On this particular occasion “I’ll forgive you for once/just this once … but don’t do it again!”
once 1) one time only
2) at a time in the past
3) as soon as
4) not forever
1) “I’ve just met the owner once since we moved in.”
2) “He once owned in a restaurant near the beach.”
3) “She’s is a nice person once you get to know her.”
4) “Come on, you're only young once - now’s the time to have fun!”
once a ... always a ... Someone who has a natural ability to do something never loses that ability. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
Once a liar, always a liar.
once again
once more
One more time Once again/once more he arrived late and delayed everyone.”
once and again
once in a while
Occasionally, not often “We meet each other once and again/once in a while.”
once in a blue moon Rarely They only see each other once in a blue moon." 
once in a lifetime Unlikely to happen again “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you shouldn’t miss!”
once and for all One final time; completely “This will solve the problem once and for all.”
once too often Too many times; repeatedly “This time the boy deserves to be punished. He’s done it once too often!”
once upon a time Long ago
Often begins children’s stories…
Once upon a time there was a little girl called Red Riding Hood.”
once-over (Give or get) examine quickly “Can you give my presentation a once-over? Check if there are any typos.”
the once On one single occasion I saw him just the once so I remember him only vaguely."



Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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