Talk:I knew someone when

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I knew someone when

I think phrases like "I knew him when he was just a mailman" aren't idioms, they just have the literal meanings of the words. Mglovesfun (talk) 07:37, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

You have put up a straw man to argue against. The citations do not have a single instance of the "when" being followed by a clause in the non-idiomatic fashion. OTOH it is quite possible that the idiomatic expression is not heard in the UK.
Though it might be possible to argue that this is a "mere" ellipsis, with "when" functioning anaphorically or deictically, and is therefore always understood as such without being idiomatic, the same argument could be made for many idioms, including those currently in Category:English ellipses. Even this argument does not hold for some uses of the term. The expression can be used without reference to any specific event or period whether mentioned or inferable from context, just some time in the past when speaker and "someone" were both alive and speaker was aware. DCDuring TALK 12:35, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
To quote (or at worst paraphrase you) "explain how this meets CFI". The citations are varied, undoubtedly, but in the end just refer to knowing some in the past. Seems we need a third opinon here, c'mon wade in. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:22, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
For it to be SoP, the first requirement would be that when have the sense of "then" in contemporary English in phrases other than this one. In fact, it ought to to have a sense of "long ago" or "before {someone) became famous/successful/powerful/rich". If it has that sense in any one other attestable expression (three cites) or two different expressions, then we should add when (at a former and usually less prosperous time). I am unwilling to spend time citing it when I have only heard and read this sense of "when" in this context. Perhaps "back when." or "remember|remembers|remembering|remembered X when." can be found.
In any event, this dictionary does not have the relevant sense of "when". DCDuring TALK 23:52, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Keep. The phrase when used as a stand-alone is idiomatic. bd2412 T 21:32, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

I didn't know about the stand alone form (which has since been supported by citations). Move to keep immediately; this rfd has been open for 11 months now. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:42, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

move to keep, do not pass go, do not collect $200 -- Liliana 21:54, 25 September 2011 (UTC)