Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “when”

when

conjunction (ALTHOUGH)    /wen/
B2 despite the fact that: He says he hasn't got any money when in fact he's got thousands of dollars in his account. I don't understand how he can say that everything's fine when it's so obvious that it's not.Connecting words which express a contrast Grammar:If or when?We use if to introduce a possible or unreal situation or condition. We use when to refer to the time of a future situation or condition that we are certain of:See moreGrammar:WhenWhen is a wh-word. We use when to ask questions, as a conjunction and to introduce relative clauses.See moreGrammar:When as a question wordWe can use when to ask for information about what time something happens:See moreGrammar:When as a conjunctionWe use when as a conjunction meaning ‘at the time that’. The clause with when is a subordinate clause (sc) and needs a main clause (mc) to complete its meaning. If the when-clause comes before the main clause, we use a comma.See moreGrammar:When as a relative pronounWe can use when as a relative pronoun in relative clauses:See moreGrammar:Since when?We can use since when to ask at what time something began. We often use it as a response when we are surprised that something has begun:See moreGrammar:When or if?We use when to refer to a future situation or condition that we are certain of, whereas we use if to introduce a possible or unreal situation.See moreGrammar:When or since?We use when to mean ‘(at) the time that’. We use since to refer to a particular time in the past until another time or until now:See moreGrammar:When: typical errorsSee more
(Definition of when conjunction (ALTHOUGH) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of when

Definitions of “when” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

warm-up

something that you do to prepare yourself for an activity, especially gentle exercises before a physical activity

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More