Many people say 'It's the time to do' is unidiomatic. They say it's always 'It's time to do.'

It's time to go home. It's time to start the work. It's time to go.

Even in a situation where 'going' has been evoked, and the action is awaited and focused on, you would not put 'the' before 'time':

A troop of soldiers have discussed when to attack their enemy. A man suggested that they start fighting when they see the enemy's tanks turn to the west because the sides are their most vulnerable. The vehicles do so indeed when the troop catch the enemy's radio signaling ZZZXXX. They agreed on the timing.

At 3:00 am, yes, they hear it.

The captain says 'It's [the] time to go!' [XXX] to mean the wrong usage.

(My rendition)

Then, how would you justify the use of 'the' in the following sentences? Do they stand without 'the'?

(1) Stir that Manhattan. Shake that sidecar. With the holiday season in gear, it's the time to press the cocktail bar into service.

Thanks to the renaissance of craft cocktails in restaurants and gastropubs, the bar cart and built-in wet bar have come back from decades past to play a pivotal role in entertaining at home. [...]

(source: 'Raising the bar: If you want the right holiday…' by Lisa Liddane for Orange County Register)

(2) Now you're ready for design development, when the architect prepares more detailed drawings showing floor plans with all the rooms in the correct size and shape. It's the time to picture yourself in these rooms and decide if you think the traffic flow is good, if the space looks like it will serve the purpose it's built for, if you like the wall and floor finishes and if the doors and windows are of satisfactory size and in the right places.

(source: Chicago Sun-Times. It seems the on-line page is removed already)


I guess the omission of article the is just for the economy of language, which means if fewer words can convey the whole meaning of a sentence, then there is no reason adding more words.

However, in your examples with "the", though I do not know the specific context that these sentences were used, I could refer that "the time" had been mentioned somewhere before.

| improve this answer | |
  • Goodie Good, thanks for your comment. The referent of 'the time' is nowhere to be found in the linguistic context in any of the texts cited. 'Raising the bar' can be reached through the link provided. As a matter of fact, I was told 'It's "the" time to do' is unthinkable by many elsewhere, but I found numerous examples where 'the time' I think is evoked by something except by the text, and awaited or expected; thus, I think 'the' is used. – Sssamy Aug 4 '19 at 7:59

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