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I came across this phrase today in a rather humorous column:

The last time I did [something] ... was 2000-never.

I've never seen this construct before. My guess is, that this means, the author did something the last time before the year 2000. Is that correct? Could I get some more examples?

Here is the phrase in context, to help give a better idea of how it's being used:

For example, ordering anything on the internet and paying more than the cost of the item in shipping fees is pretty depressing. As a general rule, that puts a halt to my eCommerce experience before I press the "checkout" button. The last time I paid $15 for a great t-shirt and paid $16 to ship it was 2000-never.

The author seems to have a very good command of the English language, so now I'm wondering how prevalent this expression might be.

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    This is Too Localised. Google finds not a single relevant instance of was 2000-never. I'm sure what this (sloppy, imho) speaker meant was a long time ago, certainly no more recently than 2000, and possibly never. It just looks like a clumsy attempt to emulate quirky idiomatic usages such as oh dark thirty (Some unspecified hour in the early morning). – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '13 at 17:50
  • Ok, thanks. I was not sure, if this is a common phrase. I expected the 2000 to be interchangeable so i gave up googling for something. As posted below, the phrase is from this - rather funny - article here: geckodesigns.kinja.com/so-i-bought-a-firetruck-252516685 – Michael Härtl Mar 30 '13 at 17:53
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    @Michael: That oh dark thirty example illustrates quirky/creative use of the word "dark" in a context where we're expecting a number. A better equivalent for your context might be something like "I haven't done that since nineteen ninety-never", which "witticism" seems to have occurred to hundreds if not thousands of people in the last decade or so. But I don't think learners should attempt to copy the formula, to be honest. – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '13 at 18:07
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    Too bad this question has three close votes already; I find it a very interesting question. Michael, I think your question might have been better received initially had you provided more context from the outset. Why put a link to the article in a comment? Why not edit the question (or, better yet, included more context in the original)? – J.R. Mar 31 '13 at 2:22
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    I learned something. – J.R. Mar 31 '13 at 4:01
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I've never heard this phrase before, but what it sounds like the speaker is trying to say is that they've never before done whatever "it" refers to. For example if you said "The last time I did [x] was 2002," you'd be stating the last time you did it. "two thousand-never" (instead of "two thousand-two") seems to be a funny way of saying you've never done something. So I'd say the sentence probably has identical meaning if you just remove the "2000-" and say "The last time I did [x] was never."

Now note that this isn't grammatically correct; you can't actually say "The last time I did [x] was never." The correct thing to say would be "I have never done [x]". But the joke still stands, I think.

  • Oh, now i see. Maybe the complete sentence (from here) helps to confirm that: The last time I paid $15 for a great t-shirt and paid $16 to ship it was 2000-never. – Michael Härtl Mar 30 '13 at 17:47
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    Also its kind if negative in tone, meaning not only that nothing was done, but also that there is no plan or expection for something to be done or to occur in the future. A common phrase is "twelfth of never" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelfth_of_Never In your context, it means he would never do that. – user485 Mar 30 '13 at 17:50
  • +1 ^^ For some context, preceeding the given sentence in the text is: "For example, ordering anything on the internet and paying more than the cost of the item in shipping fees is pretty depressing. As a general rule, that puts a halt to my eCommerce experience ...". But, I don't think there's anything grammatically wrong with 'The last time I did [x] was never'. Grammar doesn't cover nonsense. – mcalex Mar 30 '13 at 18:07
  • @mcalex Oh, agreed--in the context of the joke it's perfectly fine. I just meant to say that it's not proper grammar in any serious context. (Also that article is hilarious. I want a fire truck!) – WendiKidd Mar 30 '13 at 18:12

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