I would like to know what does "It's only who knows when I will respond." mean? Is this an idiom?

Background: She is pretty much busy with her work lately so she seldom replies to him. She said, "I was pretty busy lately. It's only who knows when I will respond. Sorry about that." ? By the way, the two are still getting to know each other virtually.

It's quite vague to me but from what I understood, only then she can reply as soon as possible to people who are much closer to her like her parents and the like? It's like she only prioritizes replying to people whom she knows more?

Is my understanding correct?

Any idea is very much appreciated.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Fattie, Chenmunka, tchrist, Ellie Kesselman, aedia λ Nov 3 '14 at 20:53

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  • Hi guest3, this phrase does not really make sense, if it's an idiom then it's not one I've heard before. My guess is that she means "I've been so busy lately Heaven only knows when I will respond." - meaning, she has been so busy that she really cannot say when she will have time to respond. But that's only a guess, it's hard to say without more information. Is it possible you misheard or there was an error in the original? – Mynamite Nov 2 '14 at 10:18
  • If the person who wrote this is a native speaker of English, she was obviously so busy that she wasn't paying attention to her typing, because that sentence is gibberish. It makes no sense. It's not English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 2 '14 at 10:28
  • Thanks for the replies. It's handwritten actually and this is exactly the sentence."It's just only who knows when I will respond". She is from Canada. I think it's a slang? Mostly people there changes their 'then' to 'than' or vice versa.Like other then that. And even 'of' to 'if'. So I dont know if spoken to their co-locals he /she will then understood it. Coz to them it's already understood? – guest3 Nov 2 '14 at 12:04
  • it's just a typo, it's that simple. there's a huge confusion on this site: in the case of something being "just a typo" there tends to be a staggering amount of discussion. But, it's just a typo. End of story. – Fattie Nov 2 '14 at 13:28
  • @JoeBlow You don't think it's meant to be an attempt at a play on who knows when I'll respond --> I'll respond who knows when --> It's only 'who knows when' that I'll get back to you ? But very clumsy if so ... Otherwise, I can't really see what it could be a typo of ... – Araucaria Nov 3 '14 at 2:36

Who knows when (originally, but no longer, with a question mark at the end) is an idiom for an unknown but probably distant time: alternatives include Heaven knows when and nobody knows when.


It's a typo, it's that simple. Utterly nothing else to discuss here.

  • 2
    Not, an answer. This is only a comment. If it's a typo, say where the mistake was. – Mari-Lou A Nov 2 '14 at 14:57
  • Unless you have knowledge hidden from the rest of us, it's not even a useful comment. – TimLymington Nov 2 '14 at 15:42
  • Huh? Question: "What does it mean to say..." Answer: it is a typographical error, a mis-typing. – Fattie Nov 3 '14 at 6:53

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