What does It's time I went to bed mean?

and can we say It's time I go to bed ?

and what's the difference between the two sentences?


2 Answers 2


You can use the following constructions for "It's time":

  1. It's time I got* my hair cut. It's rather long."It's time" + past subjunctive (the asterisk denotes subjunctive.)

  2. It's time to get the tea ready."It's time" + to-infinitive

  3. It's time for tea."It's time" + for + [noun]

From Oxford Guide to English Grammar, section 241: Tenses in sub clauses.


It's time I went to bed.

It's time I go to bed.

The first sentence is correct grammatically, but the second is not.

It's time can be followed by a past subjunctive or to-infinitive. So you can say:

It's time I went to bed or it's time for me to go to bed.

But there's a slight difference in the meaning between these forms. It's time + past subjunctive implies that I should go to bed though it's a bit late. You can add high (it's high time) to emphasize this idea.

On the other hand, it's time + to infinitive states that the correct time has arrived for me to go to bed.

  • 1
    Just as another example: It's time I went is fine. It's time I go really stands out as 'wrongly constructed', by those who insist on the 'rule' you mention. On the other hand, this 'rule' applies to what is taught as standard grammar, whereas many people might not follow it, as they find the present tense much more natural.
    – user6951
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 2:31
  • 2
    Pazzo, I don't know; I am not a native speaker. You know better being a native speaker. But I think what you have said is common sense.
    – Khan
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 12:09

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