Suppose I'm a time traveler and just came back from the past. Would it be correct to say: I was just in the 60s?

I saw this thread, but didn't really understand how it applies to this case: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/202122/the-correct-usage-of-past-tense-with-just

  • 1
    The time machine is an irrelevant distraction here and doesn't affect the tense. Whether you've just been in the 60s or just been in the kitchen, there are two options - (1) the present perfect (the traditional preference, especially in BrE) and (2) the simple past.
    – rjpond
    Nov 2, 2017 at 19:24
  • I would agree with you about the present perfect to some extent, but I think the use of "just" there gives us a clue that he means, "I was just in the 60s (a minute ago or so)." I don't think it sounds right to say, "I have just been in the 60s" because it appears the speaker has just left off the exact time "a second ago, etc." It'd be fine if it were said like this: "I travel through time. I have been to the 60s before." It'd be fine if I were asked, "Where have you been?" and I replied, "I've just been in the 60s, enjoying life." Now there's no hidden "a minute ago" sense.
    – Nick
    Nov 2, 2017 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Yes, I think it's fine to say, "I was just in the 60s." However, I have no clue when I'll ever use this statement as I do not travel in time, putting right what others have made wrong!

Also, I would say "Suppose I were a time traveller" since the statement is conditional and is clearly shown to be conditional by your use of "would" in the question you pose; therefore, you should use the past subjunctive here. That really throws us for a loop in time, doesn't it?


I'm a native English speaker from the States and I would say 'suppose I'm a time traveler' or 'suppose I were a time traveler' — both are correct in this case.

And yes, I would say 'I was just in the 60's'.

  • I am a native English speaker as well. "Suppose I am a time traveller" is so informal and such bad English that I would consider it grammatically incorrect; the statement is clearly conditional based upon the use of "would" and the fact that it starts off saying "Suppose". It is the equivalent of saying, "If I were a time traveller, it would be correct to say it this way, wouldn't it?" One would never say, "If I am a time traveller, it would be correct to say it this way." It's bad English the way you and he have posed it and arguing something that is horrendous English is a blight to ESL.
    – Nick
    Nov 2, 2017 at 21:04

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