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Use when a lack of precision prevents you from understanding the material.

Add {{When}} after a time period to indicate that the time period is so vague or ambiguous that you do not understand what is being said. Wikipedia does not ban the use of general or relative time descriptions, like "before", "after", "since then", "now", or "in modern times" if the context is sufficiently clear for you to understand what time period is being referred to. For example, the typical reader will easily understand that the word now in the sentence, "In the Roman era, most people died before age 25, but now it is typical for a person living in the developed world to live well past age 70" refers to the time at which the reader is reading the sentence, e.g., this year.

You may append a date to the template in the following format:

{{When|date=May 2024}}


  • Do not substitute this template.
  • If you don't add a date parameter, a bot will date your entry with the month and year at a later time.
  • The date parameter consists of the name of the current month and the year only, not full dates. The names of the months are capitalized in English. Any deviation from these two rules will result in an “invalid date parameter” error.

Do not use for disputes: If the date in question is disputed (controversial, unlikely, impossible, or otherwise more problematic than simply needing clarification), use {{Citation needed}}, {{Dubious}}, {{Disputed-inline}} or some other dispute template.

After placing the template in the article, it is a good idea to create a new When heading on that page’s talk page, so as to provide a forum to discuss the unclear time reference.


The following are some examples of unclear time references.

References tied to the present

Wikipedia pages will exist for decades, and any reference to the present "now" will be incorrect or misleading in a year or two. In fact, since Wikipedia readers cannot easily determine when a particular statement was written, any use of the present is immediately unclear as to when exactly is meant.

Sentences tied to the present that are likely to grow out-of-date may revealed by:

  • Words such as "presently", "currently", "now" or "today";
  • References to "this year", "this decade" or "this century";
  • Phrases such as "is in talks", "is planning", or "to this day".
  • Statements that use the word "still" in a context, such as: "The statue is still standing in its original location."

Forward- and backward-looking statements may also be unintentionally anchored in the present:

  • Sentences about future intentions ("will acquire Saab")
  • The present perfect progressive ("has been recording a new single")
  • The immediate past ("for the past 10 years")
  • Relative time references ("last year", "10 years ago", "in 10 years", "within a decade", etc.)

One way to correct such usage is with an introductory phrase such as "In April 2007" or "As of 2007" (best used with the {{As of}} template). Another way is to omit the present reference altogether (e.g. replace "He has worked there for the past 10 years and still works there today" with "He first began work there in 1995".)

Imprecise time specifiers

Other time references may also be vague or ambiguous. Words like "recent", "lately" or similar may need clarification. Is "recent" used to mean last week, last month, last year, last century? Such wording may not be obvious to the reader unless it is clarified or reworded.

There are many words or phrases that may imply a certain amount of time had passed without exactly indicating how long or when. Some further examples include:

  • "for some time"
  • "for a while"
  • "often"
  • "frequently"
  • "previously"
  • "formerly"
  • "at one point"
  • "at a certain point"
  • "during one period" (or "stage" or "phase")

Another example is the phrase "used to" when applied in a context, such as "He used to go there every day."

Date ambiguity

A date written in the format mn/xy/2009 may mean different things in different places — and even in the same place. To some, 1/4/2009 means "1 April 2009"; to others, "4 January 2009".

Seasons used as times

Seasons are local phenomena and their usage as dates is hence even more vague than might be apparent at first sight.

This usage often manifests itself in phrasing like the following:

  • [Some event happened] in [the season] of [year].
  • [Something was completed] by [the season] of [year].

Where the meaning is mainly temporal, preferably use the most precise language reasonable :

  • 15 September — 5 November 1995
  • March — October 1994
  • Fourth quarter of 1989
  • Early part of 1962

See WP:MOSNUM for more details.


Do not change ambiguous material in a direct quotation. Instead give an appropriate clarification in brackets:

The statue is inscribed: “For the valiant heroes of 1/4/2009” (1 April 2009)

See also


This is the TemplateData documentation for this template used by VisualEditor and other tools.


Use after a statement of a time period in an article that is so vague or ambiguous you do not understand which period is being referred to.

Template parameters


The month and year you added this template to the article, use the full month name and four digit year, e.g. August 2013


cs:Šablona:Kdy? da:Skabelon:Hvornår ja:Template:いつ ko:틀:언제 pt:Predefinição:Quando ru:Шаблон:Когда uk:Шаблон:Коли