I'm asking this question because if I remove the word "when" I get two sentences that can stand on their own 1. I'll believe it. 2. I see it. I suppose in such cases "when" functions as a conjunction. I'm not exactly sure, though. Any suggestion is appreciated.

  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/162576/…
    – CinCout
    Dec 13, 2016 at 10:23
  • Some grammars take "when" to be a preposition, others a subordinator. Whichever interpretation is preferred, the expression "when I see it" is a temporal adjunct. Finite clauses, notably content clauses like "I see it" can usually stand alone, cf. also "[I left London] before [he arrived]"; "[I heard a rumour] that [the head is leaving next year]"; "[I don't know] whether [he accepted the offer]".
    – BillJ
    Dec 13, 2016 at 11:40

2 Answers 2


Correct, "when" is indeed a conjunction in your example because it connects two related ideas.

In fact, "when" is used as a conjunction rather often and in a variety of circumstances. Have a look at its entry in the Oxford Dictionary for more definitions and examples.


I'll believe it when I see it.

You are right; the word "when" is a conjunction. There are two clauses i.e. the main clause "I'll see it" and the subordinate or dependent clause introduced by when "when l see it". The subordinate conjunction when joins the two clauses.

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