I was reading a sentence and it kept my attention because it's like this.

Now it’s time you wrote a short composition.

The words that puzzle me here in the part that says "you wrote"

My question is: Is it a conditional?

  • I suspect there's a special grammar term for this kind of structure, but it's basically an adjectival clause that modifies "time". It means the same as "it's time for you to write a short composition". – Andrew Apr 27 '18 at 14:24
  • "It's time" is a set expression and uses the simple past. I do not know the grammatical explanation for it. But it seems logical to me. – Lambie Apr 27 '18 at 15:00
  • 1
    No, it's not a conditional. "(That) you wrote a short composition" is a content clause. The sentence entails that the situation is not yet in progress: "You are not writing a short composition, but should do so". – BillJ Apr 27 '18 at 17:10

It's the subjunctive. The indicative mood is not used because the speaker isn't saying that the event happened, but that it should happen.

  • The subjunctive in English is only realized in the third person singular where the s is not used. As wrote is past tense, it can't be subjunctive. – Lambie Apr 28 '18 at 0:58
  • No, it's not. And not putting the word "wrote" in quotes makes your comment much more difficult to read, as well as seriously undermining your attempt to sound like an expert on grammar. – Acccumulation Apr 29 '18 at 22:56
  • Sorry about wrote but the simple past of an action verb cannot be subjunctive in English. And the English subjunctive for action verbs only appears in the third person singular. Only the be verb can be "past" with were/was. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_subjunctive – Lambie Apr 29 '18 at 23:20
  • Also, I would point out that I disagree with you. You also make a statement, just like me. But, I would not term that an "attempt to sound like an expert on grammar". – Lambie Apr 29 '18 at 23:23
  • Your own link says the present subjunctive is the bare infinitive, not the third person singular. And you first said the subjunctive is never the past tense form, and now you're changing that to that "be" is the only verb for which that happens (although again you're not putting it in quotes). As for the other issue, making a claim in a comment is different from making a claim in an answer, and in addition, your comment had a bit of an imperious tone. – Acccumulation Apr 30 '18 at 14:59

Now it’s time [(that) you wrote a short composition].

No, it's not conditional, but modal. The bracketed element is a declarative content clause. Note that the subordinator that could optionally be added here.

The preterite form wrote expresses modal rather than temporal meaning, i.e. modal remoteness rather than past time.

The meaning is counterfactual. It entails that the situation is not yet in progress: "You are not writing a short composition, but should do so".


This is the short form of "Now it’s time that you wrote a short composition."
The use of "that" is implied. It isn't "conditional", the implied "that" forms an Appositive Clause

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