Please help me explain the grammatical construction in the following sentences.
When it came time to ask question, I did not know what to ask.
When it came time for questions, I did not know what to ask.
What does the subject, it, indicate?
Now that 'came' is an intransitive verb, 'time' can't be a subject complement or an object. What is it?
Last edited by pinesol; 10-Sep-2008 at 18:23. Reason: There was a word missing in the title..
In fact, I have to explain to my students how such grammatical construction came about. The following is a quote from East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
When I searched the google for "it came time", I found 1,420,000 examples.When I recovered from my pneumonia it came time for me to learn to walk again. I had been nine weeks in bed, and the muscles had gone lax and the laziness of recovery had set in. When I was helped up, every nerve cried, and the wound in my side, which had been opened to drain the pus from thepleuralcavity, pained horribly. I fell back in bed, crying, “I can’t do it! I can’t get up!”
Here's OED's 25th definition of "come":
25. With complement (pa. pple., adj., or sb.).
a. To become, get to be (in some condition).
Often expressing passage from one condition into another, as in ‘to come untied’.
a1592 GREENE & LODGE Looking Gl. Wks. (1861) 127 Tell me how this man came dead. 1593 R. BANCROFT Dang. Positions IV. vii. 156 How Coppinger and Arthington came acquainted with Hacket. 1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, II iii. 57 .So came I a Widow.
1889 MRS. J. H. RIDDELL P'cess Sunshine I. iv. 71 All would come right between her and her old friends.