I caught this dialogue on TV:

A: Who was that guy you spoke at the parking lot with?

B: How'd you known?

The second sentence, as I understand, is a contraction of "How had you known?" It seems to me that Present Perfect should be used here—"How have you known?" because the situation is unfolding now.

I can see using "How'd you known?" in a dialogue like this: "– I didn't support him, because I knew he was a betrayer. – How'd you known?" But I can't justify using it in this dialogue: "– Bad news, the game was postponed. – How have you known?"

2 Answers 2


I am 99% certain that what you actually heard was:

How'd you know?

(Note know instead of known)

This is expanded to:

How did you know?

Which in the conversation carries the meaning of:

How did you find out that I spoke with someone in the parking lot?

Or something similar.

"How did you known" doesn't make sense in English, so I'm fairly certain it's not what was said, and I can't provide you with an explanation of its meaning.

  • Is it common to short did with 'd, or does that happen just with few words preceding did? (I am not sure it would be separate question, or it would be a good question to ask.)
    – apaderno
    Jul 13, 2013 at 17:01
  • @kiamlaluno That's an interesting question, actually. It definitely happens with "wh" words: "How'd he do?" "Where'd she go?" "What'd he want?" "When'd he get here?" (Though the last two I find strange to type, I can easily see them spoken.) And with pronouns; "He'd often do this" etc. Nothing else comes to mind at the moment, but there may be other words. Probably anywhere you can put "did", in spoken English someone contracts it! You should ask the question :)
    – WendiKidd
    Jul 13, 2013 at 17:05

I think you must have misheard this. The ordinary idiom is

How did you know?

This may be contracted to:

How'd you know?

No native speaker would use a perfect construction here, either "How have ... " or "How had ... ".

In your other example, the question would ordinarily be cast in the present tense:

"Bad news, the game was postponed." ... "How do you know?"

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