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This is a similar question about using "it's time I went to bed".

The accepted answer suggests we either say:

It's time I went to bed,

For something that I should have done till now, but I didn't

The other form for "it's time" is:

It's time to go to bed.

To suggest to sleep! and almost should mean:

*It's time we go to bed.

But if you want to say, It's time a third person (he, she) goes to bed, or you go to bed, what do you say?

It's time he goes to bed?

It's time he go to bed?

It's time you go to bed?

It's time for him to go to bed?

It's time for you to go to bed?

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  • In the example, did you really mean to write "wend", or "went" (wend is the archaic present tense of went)
    – James K
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:21

2 Answers 2

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This is your first starting sentence:

It's time I went to bed.

The person who needs to go to bed is represented by a subject pronoun. All you need to do to apply it to a different person is to change the pronoun:

It's time he went to bed.

looking at the second starting sentence:

It's time to go to bed

Think of that as a complete sentence like

It is easy

If you want to add another noun (or a pronoun) to add further information to the sentence, you need to use a preposition.

It is easy for him.

Note that the pronoun following the preposition is an object pronoun. So, if you want to specify who needs to go to bed, you have to use a preposition with an object pronoun or a noun:

It's time for him to go to bed.
It's time for us to go to bed.
It's time for Jake and Mandy to go to bed.

Incidentally, "It's time to go to bed." does not mean "*It's time we go to bed." (which furthermore is not grammatically correct): it means "It's time [for unspecified people] to go to bed". If you said "It's time to go to bed" to a child, the child would take this to mean that only he or she should go to bed, and would assume that you had no intention of going to bed at the same time.

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Consider these two sentences:

Congress has refused to vote to confirm the nominee; it is time they did.

Congress has refused to vote to confirm the nominee; it is time they do.

You will find native speakers saying both. To my ear, the backshifted version ("did") is semantically equivalent to "should", and the present ("do") is closer to "must".

In the second sentence, with "go", the speaker's patience has worn a little thin:

It's getting late. It's time they went.

It's getting late. It's time they go.

Here's an example from 1652 where the subjunctive is used:

".... it is high time that he employ....

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  • Thanks. I think one problem is that English uses few distinctive tenses (for example by went, I usually expect a past indicative verb which was finished)... As I checked Persian, I found it has 35 tenses!18 tense for past indicative, 3 for present indicative, 6 for future indicative, 4 for past subjunctive, 1 for present subjunctive, and 3 tense for imperative! How many such tenses English has?
    – Ahmad
    Sep 12, 2016 at 14:01
  • Though, this Wikipedia article says Persian tenses are less than English tenses! but I think they are more distinctive
    – Ahmad
    Sep 12, 2016 at 14:08
  • Language changes over time. Although the semantic conditions for the subjunctive have not changed in English, how the subjunctive is marked has. Nowadays we often (not always) use backshifted tenses and modal periphrases where in the past we used subjunctive forms of the verb. Already in Early Modern English we see this happening. researchgate.net/publication/… Sep 12, 2016 at 15:57

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