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    #1

    When it came time for questions...

    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?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by pinesol; 10-Sep-2008 at 18:23. Reason: There was a word missing in the title..

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: When it came for questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinesol View Post
    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?

    Thank you.
    Welcome to the forums.

    I would phrase it; "When the time came...."


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    #3

    Re: When it came for questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Welcome to the forums.

    I would phrase it; "When the time came...."
    I would, but these sentences are really used by many real people.
    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 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!”
    When I searched the google for "it came time", I found 1,420,000 examples.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: When it came for questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinesol View Post
    I would, but these sentences are really used by many real people.
    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.
    This is English as it is spoken, not English as it is taught.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: When it came for questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinesol View Post
    I would, but these sentences are really used by many real people.
    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.
    It would make grammatical sense if it derived from "it became time ...", and the "be" dropped off at some stage.

    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.

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