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It's time we "should" go home.

English translation: Yes, it is grammatical.

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18:30 Sep 3, 2009
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / Colloquialism?
English term or phrase: It's time we "should" go home.
Is that gramatically acceptable anyway? I mean, there's a song (Wishing on a star) that goes (...) I think it's time we should make up...
Some grammar literature available recognizing this pattern, so to speak, as standard, even from a colloquial point of view?
Thanks.
FNO
English translation:Yes, it is grammatical.
Explanation:
This is fine grammatically. Its competitor "it's time that we go home" is also grammatical (and generally preferred in formal contexts).

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Note added at 5 mins (2009-09-03 18:36:09 GMT)
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NB: "It's time for us to go home" is probably the most common way of expressing this general idea in most vernacular English varieties.
Selected response from:

Richard McDorman
United States
Local time: 05:32
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +11Yes, it is grammatical.
Richard McDorman
3 +8it's time we went homeLonnie Legg
Summary of reference entries provided
See
Alexander Ryshow
This construction exists in both US and UK EnglishJim Tucker
It's time...cmwilliams

  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +11
it's time we "should" go home.
Yes, it is grammatical.


Explanation:
This is fine grammatically. Its competitor "it's time that we go home" is also grammatical (and generally preferred in formal contexts).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2009-09-03 18:36:09 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

NB: "It's time for us to go home" is probably the most common way of expressing this general idea in most vernacular English varieties.

Richard McDorman
United States
Local time: 05:32
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jim Tucker: Also "It's time we went home" ; "It's time we were going home"
10 mins
  -> Oh, the possibilities... Thanks, Jim!

agree  JangF
20 mins
  -> Thank you.

agree  Jack Doughty
26 mins
  -> Thanks, Jack.

neutral  Helen Genevier: I don't know if it's a UK/US difference, but it sounds odd to me and begs to be expressed as it's time we went home or were going
30 mins
  -> Thanks, Helen. I agree that it may not be the best option, but the asker's question had to do with grammaticality, not style.

agree  Olga B
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Olga.

agree  danya: I'd venture saying that the option with "should" is met more often in the UK usage, is it?
1 hr
  -> I would imagine so, although there are certainly more stylistically sound options (as proffered above by other contributors) in all English dialects.

agree  Andycarruk: Sounds perfectly OK to me, if a little archaic. Expresses more than "it's time we went home" since it also indicates unwillingness to do so and that the obligation derives from propriety, not inclination.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Andy.

agree  Tony M: Yes, and especially with Andy's analysis
3 hrs
  -> Thanks very much, Tony.

neutral  Polangmar: Has the English grammar changed and "it's time (that) we go" is correct?
4 hrs
  -> "It's time that we go" has always been grammatically correct, back to the Old English period.

disagree  cmwilliams: This is not grammatically correct.
4 hrs

agree  writeaway: I've heard this in spoken English (I think it's time we should be going etc). Not so sure it's used in written English
5 hrs
  -> Thanks a lot.

agree  Yasutomo Kanazawa: Hear and see this very often
6 hrs
  -> Thank you very much.

agree  Liam Hamilton
14 hrs
  -> Thanks, Liam.

agree  Goldcoaster
19 hrs
  -> Thank you!

neutral  Cilian O'Tuama: I'd instintively disagree (if it hadn't been for writeaway's comment). Colloquial sure, but...
1 day6 hrs
  -> Well, it appears that with so much debate about this, for at least some speakers, the construction is of questionable grammaticality.

agree  Jeanette Phillips
4 days
  -> Thanks, Jeanette.
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50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
it's time we "should" go home.
it's time we went home


Explanation:
I can't give a strict grammatical explanation, but "should" seems wrong. (The other variants given here, on the other hand, are correct.)
My simple explanation why it sort of works--i.e. works as lyrics, e.g.--is that it sounds like: "it's time. We should go home." As two sentences, fine.
Isn't it a bit like "It's important to eat/that we eat/for us to eat."?

Lonnie Legg
Germany
Local time: 11:32
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Armorel Young: Although it's hard to pinpoint a reason why "it's time we should" is wrong, it sounds very odd and you'd get some strange looks if you used it in conversation
56 mins

agree  Helen Genevier
1 hr

disagree  Andycarruk: The main reason is that it's a slightly archaic though perfectly grammatical. A breath from a bygone age, not to be scorned. Re-arrange the sentence - We should go home, it's time. The OED says "ought to as the right or suitable thing"
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Andy. Can you give a reliable (archaic or not) written source?

agree  Annett Kottek: Wrong on so many levels. I totally agree with the full stop. The acceptable form would be: ‘It’s time we should be going [i.e. leaving]’ - - without the home (meaning ‘it’s time to leave’). Or else: 'It’s late, we should go home’.
1 hr

neutral  Tony M: I really don't think there's anything wrong with it, even if it possibly isn't the commonest way it would be expressed; there's nothing at all wrong with "it's time we should be going", it's just we're not so used to hearing it with 'home' on the end
2 hrs

agree  cmwilliams: yes, definitely - the past tense is used here.
3 hrs

agree  Polangmar
3 hrs

agree  Yasutomo Kanazawa: this is also grammatically correct
5 hrs

agree  Christine Andersen: Went sounds much better to me than should. Rephrase perhaps as 'we should be going home now'... The apparent past tense is a vestige of a conjunctive, that English has lost - we are not going (yet), but we should be.
16 hrs

agree  Judith Hehir: with Christine re: subjunctive.
21 hrs

agree  Jeanette Phillips
4 days
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Reference comments


5 mins peer agreement (net): +1
Reference: See

Reference information:
http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/linguistics/70455-its-time...

Alexander Ryshow
Belarus
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Judith Hehir
21 hrs
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1 hr
Reference: This construction exists in both US and UK English

Reference information:
Here's a UK reference, from an MP's blog:

With the increasing diversity of cultures and religions in Swindon it’s important we should debate, discuss and celebrate what people living in our country share and have in common.

http://www.annesnelgrove.co.uk/blog?Period=June2009

Jim Tucker
United States
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
neutral  cmwilliams: I beg to differ. The expression "it's time..." is not included in your reference. It's time and I'd rather are followed by the simple past (at least in the UK).//Doesn't mean it's being used correctly.
3 hrs
  -> cf. UK's Pet Shop Boys: "But all the nights you don't show up
I know it's time I should grow up" -- negative arguments much trickier than positive ones; Also from the Independent: "They're wasting my time and it's time I should have to move on."
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4 hrs peer agreement (net): +3
Reference: It's time...

Reference information:
This is similar to the construction "I'd rather..." and is always followed by the simple past.


It's time we went.

We are using It's time... here to say that something is not happening, but it should be happening. Compare also the following:

It's time we left. Our son will be home soon and he doesn't have a house key.

It's about time you started looking for a job. You can't depend on us all the time. It's high time you started to fend for yourself.

Note that it's not possible to use this structure in negative sentences. We cannot say: It's high time you didn't depend on your parents any more. But we can use the construction it's time to or it's time for + object + to as alternatives to the unreal use of past forms to express this idea:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/le...

I'd rather and it's time...

These two expressions are also followed by an unreal past. The verb is in the past tense, but the situation is in the present.

When we want to talk about a course of action we would prefer someone else to take, we use I'd rather + past tense:

* I'd rather you went
* He'd rather you called the police
* I'd rather you didn't hunt elephants.

NOTE: the stress can be important in these sentences, to show what our preference is:

* I'd rather you went = not me,
* I'd rather you went = don't stay
* He'd rather you called the police = he doesn't want to
* He'd rather you called the police = not the ambulance service

Similarly, when we want to say that now is a suitable moment to do something, either for ourselves or for someone else, we use it's time + past tense:

* It's (high) time I went.
* It's time you paid that bill.
* Don't you think it's time you had a haircut?

http://www.edufind.com/English/Grammar/IF10.cfm

cmwilliams
United Kingdom
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Sheila Wilson: exactly - "should" may have been used in the past, but it's not used now except in songs etc (in BE anyway) and it's not in the grammar books
8 hrs
agree  Christine Andersen: The simple past sounds far better to me!
12 hrs
agree  Judith Hehir: It's all about the subjunctive. "Should" has no place here.
17 hrs
neutral  Cilian O'Tuama: Can't agree that it's ALWAYS followed by simple past (be careful with that word!). But you halfway get your head out of the Schlinge with your bbc ref. :-)
3 days21 hrs
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
PRO (2): Christine Andersen, Judith Hehir
Non-PRO (1): writeaway


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Changes made by editors
Sep 3, 2009 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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