Leo: But my childhood, for example, I do not remember a thing about it. There is only one thing I still remember.

Alan: What?

Leo: The precise moment when I learned how to ride a bike. And this morning. As if by magic I remembered the moment right after...

Alan: When you fell off?

Leo: How the f*ck did you know?

Alan: Well, that happens to everybody. You learn something, you're happy and then. you forget to brake.

I didn't understand What Leo is referring to by say "know" in his reply?, Alan is asking a question: When you fell off?, But Leo replied differently.

  • 4
    How did you know [I fell off]. This is very common in daily speech when you don't have to tell everything because it can be retrieved from the context. I believe it's also common in your native language. Jun 12, 2017 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


Note that "When you fell off?" is not in the usual question form: "When did you fall off?" That is because it is not a full sentence, but just a phrase, spoken with question intonation. Alan is not asking a "when" question.

In English, it is possible to ask a yes/no question with intonation. You can ask "Do you want a cigarette?" by saying "Cigarette?". By intonation and context, the question is understood (It's funny if someone doesn't understand) If Alan asked a complete question he would say "Is the time that you remembered the time when you fell off your bike?".

Leo understands the question. But instead of answering it, he responds with his own question "How did you know [that I remembered falling off my bike]?" Nothing unusual about this. His response implies that Alan had guessed right. English like (probably) all natural languages, allows for ellipsis when the context is clear. The response to a question can be another question.

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