At the end of the movie Rise of the Guardians the guardians say to Jack Frost:

Then is time you take the Oath.

I have two questions concerning this sentence.

The first one is if then is time is identical to it is time.
And the second is if the verb take is present simple or present subjunctive.
What would be the verb if the subject were he, I.e. Take or takes?

  • Are you sure they didn't say "Then it's time you take an Oath"? which would be correct grammatically – Peter Feb 21 '16 at 13:30
  • @Peter The character who speaks the line is not a native speaker. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '16 at 13:32
  • Yes, I checked two variants of scripts, later I will watch this episode again. – Fatimahon Feb 21 '16 at 13:32

Then is time you take the oath is not idiomatic English, but the English of a non-native speaker: the character who speaks this line in Rise of the Guardians is represented with a Russian (or Russian-ish) accent. Consequently, the question of how the verb should be parsed is irrelevant.

In context, after asking "Are you ready now, Jack? To make it official?", what the character presumably intends is

Then it is time for you to take the oath.

... meaning that since he is ready, the appropriate time has now arrived.

It is possible he means:

Then it is time you took the oath.

In this idiom, the past-tense took would have a modal sense: you should take the oath, you have postponed or evaded that obligation. This meaning seems to me very unlikely in context.

  • I read in some sources on the Interner that present simple is possible after it is time. But I doubt it, as I was taught that this structure is followed by past subjunctive of the verb ' be' and sppast simple of other verbs. But in one source there was a sentence with bare infinitive of the verb 'be' after it is time. It was on forums, not in grammar books. I am not a native speaker, that is why I cannot judge. – Fatimahon Feb 21 '16 at 13:37
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    @Fatimahon Because he speaks with a strong stage-Russian accent. Because he omits the subject it. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '16 at 13:47
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    @Fatimahon This is "stage-Russian" composed by the dialogue writer (and perhaps modified on the fly by the actor) to give an entertaining impression, not a scholarly attempt to reflect actual use of English by a native Russian speaker! – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '16 at 14:01
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    @Fatimahon : The vowels are similar, but Spanish and Italian are syllable-timed, while Russian is stress-timed, like English. Also phonotactics: Unlike Italian, Russian has no difficulty with word-terminal closed syllables; and the actor fully enunciates complex clusters which are ordinarily assimilated in English. There are also occasional dropped articles in the dialogue, which is characteristically Russian. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '16 at 14:49
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    @Fatimahon Actually, "Don't noodles!" is very odd: it treats the noun noodles as a verb, and it only works because it parallels "Quit, don't quit" which immediately precedes it. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '16 at 16:54

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