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It's time to go vs. It's time that we went Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:18:57 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hello!
Suppose I'm visiting somebody with a friend of mine. At some point one of use is saying:

(1) I think it's time for us to go home.

(2) I think it's time that we went home.

Is there any difference in meaning / degree of politeness / etc?
And in #2 - is this the past subjunctive, or just the past tense?
Thank you!
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 9:51:05 AM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 10,340
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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
Hello!
Suppose I'm visiting somebody with a friend of mine. At some point one of use is saying:

(1) I think it's time for us to go home.

(2) I think it's time that we went home.

Is there any difference in meaning / degree of politeness / etc?
And in #2 - is this the past subjunctive, or just the past tense?
Thank you!


There isn't much difference in meaning, but to me, (1) would be a bit more polite.

In (2), this is one that you might hear said very often, but to be truly correct, I think it should be, "I think it's time we leave for home". Using the past tense, "went", is saying, "I think it's time we did something in the past in the immediate future"...d'oh!

But people do often say it this way.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Koh Elaine
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:14:59 AM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
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In my opinion, "It's time that we went home" implies that we should go home right now, that it is quite late and we should go home.
Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:30:15 AM
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Koh Elaine wrote:
In my opinion, "It's time that we went home" implies that we should go home right now, that it is quite late and we should go home.


Yes, that is right. It is an idiomatic usage, difficult to explain in terms of grammar. It looks more like a past subjunctive than a past indicative.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:47:04 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Along the lines of "It's time (that) we went home." (the "that" isn't usually included) is "It's time we weren't here."

These are just informal signals that we are about to go - said usually before we start to make a move by standing up, gathering our things etc...because both leave open the possibility that the hostess, friends etc. will contradict you and say "No it isn't. Have another slice of pizza."
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2019 4:30:56 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 693
Neurons: 3,493
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thanks!

Does this work in other contexts, e.g. an angry cooment from a boss:

I think it's time we did it right.


d'oh!
Audiendus
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2019 9:48:36 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 5,448
Neurons: 992,335
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
Thanks!

Does this work in other contexts, e.g. an angry cooment from a boss:

I think it's time we did it right.


Yes, that works.
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