In Friends series, season 10 episode 2, at minute 22:20, Ross tells Joey

"Well then, maybe it's time we all moved on".

Why he says "moved on" and not "move on"?


Both are possible.

Moved makes it counterfactual (in the same way as "if we moved on") - it implies "we haven't moved/aren't moving on, but what about if we did!"

Move is not counterfactual - it is not saying anything about whether or not we are already moving on.

Because these are both really about the future, the difference in meaning is slight.

  • Thank you. Is it used in formal written English as well or it's just spoken English? – R. Javid May 15 '19 at 23:31
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    I'm not sure what the it is in your question, but both these forms are standard parts of the language, used in speech and writing. – Colin Fine May 15 '19 at 23:36
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    @R.Javid It's time is always followed by a past simple in this context, it's kind of a fixed structure or idiom! dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/it-s-time – Cardinal May 16 '19 at 2:59
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    @Cardinal: I agree that the past is much more likely here, and I agree with the Cambridge Dictionary that "It's time we go home" doesn't work. But I don't find anything odd about "Maybe it's time we all move on". I think it's the "maybe" that makes a difference, but I'm not sure. – Colin Fine May 16 '19 at 17:18

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