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Is there a difference between...
Thread poster: Rad Graban

Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:30
English to Slovak
+ ...
Jun 22, 2008

... the two sentences?

1. I think it's time to realize who and where we are from.
2. I think it's time that we realize who and where we are from.

To me, as a non-english speaker, these two sentences are identical. Something is just telling me though that there is some subtle difference somewhere.
What is it?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jun 22, 2008

As a native English speaker, I see no difference, subtle or otherwise.

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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
No difference but... Jun 22, 2008

As a non-native speaker, I also see no difference between the two sentences. However, I would say they are both not correct. "To realize who [...] we are from"? I'd rather repeat the verb: "to realize who we are and where we are from".

Daniel


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 07:30
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
I agree Jun 23, 2008

...with Daniel's observation above.

Nancy


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Also agree with Daniel Jun 23, 2008

If anything, the second would put the emphasis on "you and I" while the first would include other people as well. But I think they'd both be understood the same way.

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Rosina Peixoto  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
I´m non-native Jun 23, 2008

I was always taught that the second pattern was:

I think it´s time (that) we realized ...(followed by a verb in the past).

I will look it up in my grammar book.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 07:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes. Jun 23, 2008

The first thing that strikes me, as a native UK English speaker (with 50+ years' experience...), is that neither sentence is 'native' English.

However, that problem only affects the second half of the sentences, starting from 'who'.

So, leaving aside that problem, is there a difference between:

1. I think it's time to ...
2. I think it's time that ... ?

Answer: Yes. But it's a subtle question of mood rather than overt meaning.

Version 1 is more direct - it's suggesting that something 'should' be done. It's time to ...' is what parents use when trying to get their kids to go to bed before the watershed.

Version 2 is less committed, more suggestive, less demanding. In the limit, version 2 is an invitation to debate the necessity to do something. (Probably not what you'd want to say to your kids at five minutes to watershed).

That said, version 2 is also somewhat rhetorical - it's more a statement than a question. So I guess some parents would use this version, too, to send their kids to bed.

Geeee.... 50+ years experience and still not sure

MediaMatrix


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Rosina Peixoto  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
It´s time to.../It´s time that... Jun 23, 2008

"It´s time" followed by a person is followed by an unreal past tense:
Sorry, but it´s time we went home.

This has a similar meaning to a Conditional 2 sentence:
If we went home, it would be better.

It´s time you started work! (You are being lazy)
It´s time to start work. (A statement of fact)

Both meanings suggest that an event is supposed to happen.

Language Practice by Michael Vince (Heinemann)


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Jack Qin  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:30
English to Chinese
+ ...
Agree with Rosina Jun 23, 2008

Rosina Peixoto wrote:

It´s time you started work! (You are being lazy)
It´s time to start work. (A statement of fact)



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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:30
Finnish to English
Rosina is right Jun 23, 2008

you could also say:

it is time for us to realise


spencer


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
As a native ... Jun 23, 2008

Rosina Peixoto wrote:

I was always taught that the second pattern was:

I think it´s time (that) we realized ...(followed by a verb in the past).

I will look it up in my grammar book.


I would say exactly this: I think it´s time (that) we realized ...


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:30
French to English
Difference Jun 23, 2008

UK native calling in here

In number 2 (disregarding the potential confusion of "who we are from and where we are from" of the expanded version which may not be what was meant), it seems fairly clear that the "we" is inclusive, whoever the speaker is addressing is included in the "we".

However, in number 1, although that is the most likely interpretation given the apparent subject matter, grammatically speaking, it could be addressed to anyone. In other words, it could be a recommendation to a third party (not in the "we") that the said third party makes the realisation in question with regard to the people that the speaker calls "we".

e.g 1. union negotiator speaking to management *could* say "it is time to realise that we are serious" (e.g. about industrial action), meaning it is time for mgt to take the union seriously. It would be slightly clumsy, but it is a distinct possibility.
e.g. 2: a bouncer could say to a troublesome punter "it's time to leave". This too is an instruction. The bouncer's going nowhere.

In short "it's time to.. + infintive" => no definite rule about who is doing what without more information.

So no, your sentences are not necessarily identical (and to be honest, I'm a bit surprised at the number of native speakers claiming they are).


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:30
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jun 23, 2008

Thank you all for your input.:))

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Rosina Peixoto  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
More urgent Jun 23, 2008

Simon Haines and Barbara Stewart (in their book "Masterclass" published by Oxford University Press) claim that there is a slight difference between these sentences:

1- It´s time the children went to bed.

2- It´s time for the children to go to bed.

Sentence 1 suggests more urgency.


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:30
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I do hear a difference Jun 24, 2008

Rosina Peixoto wrote:

Simon Haines and Barbara Stewart (in their book "Masterclass" published by Oxford University Press) claim that there is a slight difference between these sentences:

1- It´s time the children went to bed.

2- It´s time for the children to go to bed.

Sentence 1 suggests more urgency.



To me, there is also a slight difference between the two sentences in the original post, although I'm not sure if I can frame a "rule" explaining why or covering both those and the example above. To me, the first sentence below is the most straightforward way to express the idea, and hence neutral. The increased grammatical complexity of the second variant adds a tension that creates a stress and sense of urgency.

The first says "we did not realize this before, and now we should."
The second adds a subtle implication that this realization is overdue. It's a stronger kick in the pants, if you will.


1. I think it's time to realize who and where we are from.
2. I think it's time that we realize who and where we are from.

I'm curious what Haines and Stewart offer as the reason why sentence 1 in their set of examples is more urgent.

In addition, I think both sentences suffer from a slight "garden path" hiccup (for a fuller explanation of a "garden path" sentence, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_path_sentence). It's not a serious one, but when my brain first processed the words, it wants to expand them out to "who we are and where we are from." But because the grammatical structure of the sentence actually parallels "who we are from and where we are from," the brain has to go back and figure out just exactly what is this "who we are from" business. "Who we are from" is both ungrammatical in a strict sense and not the most idiomatically natural phrasing--"who we come from" being the more usual (though equally ungrammatical) expression.

My brain is still struggling to convince itself, in fact, that the author did not, in fact, mean "who we are and where we are from."


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