Poll: A dilemma is when you do not know which way to turn.

A dilemma is when you do not know which way to turn.

'is when' can be used in formal language.
'is when' cannot be used in formal language.

Comments:

Leo Girard

I didn't know Geo. Bush had so much interest in language or so many votes.

bptr

Are you people kidding? Most voted that "is when" is ok for formal writing/ I can't believe that! They pounded that into our heads when I was in school. The definition of a word has nothing to do with time, so how could "is when" be appropriate? Come on people!!!

Nebbie

@bptr
That is your particular school. I think it's likely that it was not using common rules.
At the core, when is referring to a specific, but unknown, instance of the situation, and the situation is a dilemma, so it just barely works.

rompey

Not knowing which way to turn is not a dilemma as long as one can easily turn back, no matter when.

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