0

Sometimes his wife got this look where she pinched her brows together and bit her lower lip and stared down at something.when he saw her like this he knew he should keep his mouth shut, but he never did. Actually it made him talk more. She had that look now.

I think it sould be written:...when she pinched her brows...

It is new to me to use "where" in such a sentence like this one.

Thank before hand for your help.

This context is from a short story named: Say Yes by Tobias Wolff.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Relative adverbs: when vs where – FumbleFingers Jun 10 at 13:42
  • Note that we often use the "spatial" localizer where to reference situations, and this sometimes extends to times when specific situations arise. In your cited context, the highlighted adjectival clause further defines the situation where his wife got a certain look / presented a specific facial expression, so idiomatically where is fine (when is also quite acceptable in this exact context, but probably less common). – FumbleFingers Jun 10 at 13:48
-2

What follows "where" is a description of the actual look, what he saw when he looked at her.
If you say "when" you are describing the actions leading up to a new look that happened after they had taken place.
For example "Sometimes his wife got this look of anger when she pinched her brows together and bit her lower lip and stared down at something.
The original sentence is describing the effect, the second the cause.

  • Divorce is often difficult where / when children are involved. I don't see any cause / effect distinction there, where both "localizers" are perfectly idiomatic, and to my mind mean exactly the same thing. – FumbleFingers Jun 10 at 14:12
  • @FumbleFingers I specifically answered concerning the OP's example sentences, I said nothing about other contexts. – Peter Jennings Jun 11 at 21:05

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.