So I'm stumbling upon these pretty often, and here is the most recent example (couldn't come up with my own one or recall something more simple):

"Also I like the idea of writing an ASCII horror space game in forth. Dwarf forthress when?"

I'm thinking it's just an intentionally incorrect grammar usage, but I can't quite understand what it does exactly.


The use of "when" at the end of a sentence in this context is simply asking when something will happen, with the connotation that they want that something to happen.

"This game is broken. Patch when?"

"I don't like my elected politician. Election when?"

"Spiders are flooding the Earth. Apocalypse when?"

It is absolutely intentionally incorrect grammar usage.

Edit: This usage is not typical in written or spoken English. Rather, based on my experience at least, this colloquial usage appears within online communities by younger generations. More specifically, it is found within online gaming communities.

I believe this usage to be the correct one given the context of the original question referencing the ASCII game Dwarf Fortress, which has cult-classic popularity online.

See these examples:
HL3 when?
Sorc nerf when?
Nepal nerf when?
Wraith nerf when?
Support Class nerf when?

  • I don't understand the downvote. This is colloquial usage I have seen over and over again, especially within online gaming communities. This is especially relevant considering the reference to the game "Dwarf Fortress". I'll make a note of the colloquial usage and context. – CrescentSickle Apr 26 at 23:31

There is a particular British stereotype of a 19th century upper-class military officer (or former military officer) who has a particular dialect that ends sentences with "what?" in the same way other people might end with, "isn't it?". For example,

Jolly good show, what?

to mean "well done". However there is no dialect I know that normally ends sentences with any of the other question words, so your example makes no sense.

You can end sentences with a question word as a way of emphasizing the exact question. Example:

A: The chef is known for making dishes infused with tobacco.
B: Infused with what?
A: Tobacco. finely-ground tobacco leaf. It's apparently rather nice.

Similarly, you can use the other question words:

She went where?

And I should do this why?

So you want this delivered by when?

and so on. Again, none of these seem to fit the context of your example.


Dwarf forthress when?

does not make any sense that I can puzzle out. I suspect it should be:

"Dwarf Forthress", then?"

proposing "Dwarf Forthress" as the name of the game. That would be a pun on "Forth" the computer language, and "Fortress", a standard component of a fantasy setting.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.