I am Spanish and my fiancé is from the States. The other day we were hanging out with his mum and she said the following:

"Did you see where Emma had a baby???"

I was very confused because I hadn't seen Emma in ages.

So I asked her what she meant, and she laughed and she said that that was an expression meaning "did you see on facebook...?" Also she said that it is kind of an antiquated expression and that people used to use it referring to newspapers as in "Did you see where so and so did this?"

So I tried investigating this phenomenon because I love the English language and I wanted to learn exactly how to use it... however I haven't found anything relevant on the web.

Can anybody help? How do you use this? Have you ever heard it before? Is it just a local expression from their state-MA-? Would you use it? Is it acceptable? IS it slang?

I know, too many questions.... but any information you can give would be greatly appreciated!

  • 8
    I think it is merely an elliptical usage, as in "Did you see where [it was reported that] Emma had a baby?" May 5, 2016 at 12:42
  • 3
    She has it correct. This is a common phrase. It has been around for a long time, and it is still in use. It isn't felt to be archaic.
    – TimR
    May 5, 2016 at 12:42
  • Just a word of caution. Don't be like so many "careless" speakers who use the word "where" inappropriately. For example, which of the following two sentences is perhaps more correct than the other: "Catch 22 is where two things have to happen, but the first thing has to happen before the second thing can happen, because if the first thing doesn't happen, then neither will the second thing"? Or, "Catch 22 is a situation in which . . ."? Personally, I think the second sentence is correct, but then I'm a stickler for details! Don May 5, 2016 at 12:58
  • 2
    "a situation" is simply a periphrasis for "where".
    – TimR
    May 5, 2016 at 13:30
  • 3
    Also, please note that fiancé = male, fiancée = female.
    – WillB3
    May 5, 2016 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


While the term where most commonly refers to place, it is also used as a conjunction to mean


do you see where the men in your life are emotionally unavailable to you?

I see where the hotel has changed hands again

Oxford Dictionary Online

It is considered informal and is almost always limited to speech rather than the printed word (except when reporting speech).

It has nothing to do with Facebook or other internet usage.

  • 8
    We also use "how" in the same way.
    – TimR
    May 5, 2016 at 12:45
  • 1
    @TimRomano And while there may be times we really care where (home birth in a swimming pool!) or how (with six attendants waiving palm fronds!) she had a baby, most often we are just noting that she had a baby.
    – bib
    May 5, 2016 at 12:47
  • I am inclined to agree, but will have to go over in my mind the contexts in which speakers in my grandparents' generation used how or where. There might be some newsy nuance or conversational gambit which that would not convey.
    – TimR
    May 5, 2016 at 12:51
  • I suppose when most news was passed by "word of mouth", the common expression would have been "Did you hear that Betty had a baby?" or "Did you hear about that train derailment?" I actually still use that though I may have "seen" the news online or on TV....just like some even older oldtimers might call their refrigerator an "ice box". Just a matter of habit, I guess. May 5, 2016 at 14:09

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