In heist comedy movie Logan Lucky (2017), Jimmy wants to steal money:

Jimmy: I even know the when to do it. June 4th, the Grocery Castle Auto Show. It's graduation weekend. It'll be the smallest turnout of the summer. And gonna be bare bones staff and security.

Why the article before "when"?

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    The cited usage is very unusual / stylised (it's nowhere near "grammatical"). It's probably slightly modelled on the "frozen form" the whys and {the} wherefores (itself just an affected way of saying the reasons), as well as probably referring back to some earlier conversation where other "aspects" of the plan were discussed. It's unlikely you'll ever encounter any other context where it would be a good idea to copy this "odd" usage. Feb 24 '21 at 17:15

Here, “when” is used as a countable noun to mean “date”. And we use an article before a countable noun. He has used the definite article before “when” to talk about one specific date. However, It’s informal to use “when” as a noun.


If you are going to do something that involves planning, like a crime, you usually need to know three things: when, where, and how. If you are talking about these things, you will use the article to talk about them. That is why he says "the when", because he's talking about that part of the plan.

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