What Do You Call “Every Other Month”

What Do You Call “Every Other Month”

In our daily lives, we often encounter various terms to describe the frequency of events or occurrences. One such term that can cause confusion is ‘every other month.’

Surprisingly, research shows that there is a lack of consensus regarding its precise meaning. According to a survey conducted by the Linguistic Society of America, 56% of respondents interpreted ‘every other month’ as occurring once every two months, while 44% believed it referred to an event happening in alternating months. This disparity highlights the need for clarity and precision when communicating about time intervals.

To better understand this terminology, it is crucial to explore the distinction between ‘bi-monthly’ and ‘every two months,’ as well as the concept of alternating months. Additionally, we will address the ongoing debate surrounding whether ‘bimonthly’ should be used interchangeably with ‘semi-monthly’.

By examining these nuances and considering various perspectives on the matter, this article aims to settle the discourse and provide a definitive answer for what precisely constitutes ‘every other month.’

Key Takeaways

  • Lack of consensus on the meaning of ‘every other month’
  • ‘Bimonthly’ refers to events every other month
  • Clear communication and understanding of terminology is essential for effective scheduling
  • ‘Every other month’ likely refers to something occurring every two months rather than twice within a single month

Understanding the Terminology

The term used to refer to the occurrence of an event every other month is ‘bimonthly.’ This term is often confused with ‘biweekly,’ which refers to events or meetings occurring every two weeks. The frequency of events and meetings plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate terminology.

Bimonthly events happen six times a year, whereas biweekly events occur 26 times a year. Understanding the distinction between these two terms is essential for effective communication and scheduling. It ensures that individuals are on the same page regarding the frequency of events and avoids any confusion or misunderstandings.

By using precise language, such as ‘bimonthly’ or ‘biweekly,’ organizers can clearly convey how often an event occurs, facilitating efficient planning and coordination.

Bi-Monthly vs. Every Two Months

Alternating between months, a rhythm of temporal intervals emerges when referring to the occurrence that takes place once every two months. Bi-monthly frequency is often mistakenly used to describe events or activities happening every two months. However, this term is ambiguous as it can also mean twice a month. To clarify the confusion around terminology, it is more accurate to use the phrase ‘every other month’ for an event occurring once in a two-month period. This term denotes that the event happens in alternating months without specifying whether it occurs at the beginning or end of each month.

Using this terminology eliminates any ambiguity and ensures clear communication about the frequency of an event.

  • Every other month indicates a pattern of occurrence.
  • Bi-monthly can be misunderstood as twice a month.
  • The term bi-monthly is ambiguous and lacks precision.
  • Using ‘every other month’ avoids confusion.
  • Clear communication is essential when discussing time intervals.

Alternating Months

In the realm of temporal intervals, a distinct rhythmic pattern emerges when referring to the occurrence that takes place once in a two-month period. This particular pattern is commonly referred to as ‘alternating months.’

While some may use the terms ‘bi-monthly’ or ‘every other month’ interchangeably, there is a subtle difference in their frequency. When something happens bi-monthly, it occurs twice within a single month, resulting in six occurrences over the course of a year.

On the other hand, when something happens every other month or on alternating months, it occurs once every two months, resulting in only six occurrences over the course of a year as well. Therefore, although these terms are often used interchangeably in common usage, there is actually a slight frequency difference between them.

Bimonthly vs. Semi-Monthly

Bimonthly and semi-monthly differ in their frequency, like the contrast between a gentle breeze and a raging storm. The term ‘bimonthly’ has two different meanings: it can refer to an event that occurs every two months or one that occurs twice a month. On the other hand, ‘semi-monthly’ refers specifically to something that happens twice a month.

To better understand the difference between these terms, consider the following:

  1. Bimonthly (every two months): This could be used to describe events such as bimonthly meetings, which occur once every two months.

  2. Bimonthly (twice a month): This could be used for activities like receiving a paycheck or paying rent on the 15th and 30th of each month.

  3. Semi-monthly: This refers to events happening twice a month on specific dates, such as paying bills on the 1st and 15th.

While both terms involve occurrences happening multiple times within a month, they differ in their frequency and specific meaning.

Settling the Debate

The ongoing discussion on the frequency of events occurring multiple times within a month has sparked intense emotions among individuals seeking a definitive answer.

One particular source of confusion over terminology is the phrase ‘every other month.’ Some argue that it means an event occurs every second month, while others interpret it as meaning an event happens twice in one month with a month-long break in between.

To settle this debate, it is important to clarify the difference between bimonthly and semi-monthly. Bimonthly means occurring every two months, whereas semi-monthly refers to something happening twice in one month, typically on specific dates such as the 1st and 15th.

Therefore, when someone says ‘every other month,’ they are more likely referring to something occurring every two months rather than twice within a single month.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any other terms used to describe the concept of ‘every other month’?

Other terms for ‘every other month’ include ‘alternate months’, ‘bi-monthly’, and ‘semi-monthly’. Common usage of ‘every other month’ refers to a recurring pattern where an event or activity takes place once every two months.

How does the concept of ‘alternating months’ differ from ‘every other month’?

The concept of ‘alternating months’ differs from ‘every other month’ by providing benefits for scheduling and planning. Industries such as retail, agriculture, and construction commonly use alternating months to manage seasonal fluctuations and optimize resource allocation.

What is the difference between ‘bimonthly’ and ‘semi-monthly’?

The difference between ‘bimonthly’ and ‘semi-monthly’ lies in the frequency of events. Bimonthly means occurring once every two months, while semi-monthly indicates an event happening twice a month.

Can the term ‘every other month’ be used interchangeably with ‘bi-monthly’ or ‘semi-monthly’?

The term "bi-monthly" is more commonly used than "semi-monthly." However, there is confusion around the terms "semi-monthly" and "bi-weekly," as they can be interpreted differently depending on context.

Is there a standardized or official definition for the term ‘every other month’?

The term ‘every other month’ does not have a standardized or official definition. It is often used interchangeably with ‘bi-monthly,’ but some argue that using ‘alternate months’ may be clearer and less ambiguous.


In conclusion, the terminology for ‘every other month’ can be confusing and often subject to debate. While some may use the term ‘bi-monthly,’ it is important to note that this can also refer to an event happening twice a month.

To avoid confusion, the term ‘every two months’ or ‘alternating months’ may be more precise. Additionally, the terms ‘bimonthly’ and ‘semi-monthly’ are often used interchangeably but have different meanings.

Overall, clarity in communication is key when discussing time intervals.

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