[Grammar] It's high time you "chose" ?????

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mehdi.m

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I found that sentence in a book, but I don't understand why "choose" is used on a simple past form :

It's high time you chose a better past time.

I would have expected the simple present, could that be a mistake? a different meaning?

help :p
 

Allen165

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NOT A TEACHER.

It's not a mistake, but I can't explain why the past tense is correct. And I'm not convinced that the present tense would be wrong, although the past tense sounds better.

Let's wait for a teacher to answer your question.
 

Raymott

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I found that sentence in a book, but I don't understand why "choose" is used on a simple past form :

It's high time you chose a better pastime.

I would have expected the simple present, could that be a mistake? a different meaning?

help :p
It's simply the use of the past tense form for a hypothetical proposition. (Some might call it subjunctive - it's the same principle).

The person hasn't chosen a better pastime. It's high time they did. (not 'do').

More examples:
You're becoming a nuisance. It's high time you left.
It would be better if you chose a new pastime
 

Offroad

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Interesting. We're always learning, huh?

Once tenses don't match, some may find it a bit awkward:

It is hightime you left. (not 'leave')

:up:
 

Barb_D

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mehdi.m

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Sorry, I didn't think of it!

Thanks for your explanation to all of you, I perfectly understand know.

One more question though, could we say :

It's high time that you chose...
 

Barb_D

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You can.

(Sometimes the search engine works better than others in terms of giving good results. This one happened to be a good one. I'm sorry if I sounded like I was scolding -- I just meant to be helpful!)
 

corum

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I found that sentence in a book, but I don't understand why "choose" is used on a simple past form :

It's high time you chose a better past time.

I would have expected the simple present, could that be a mistake? a different meaning?

help :p

In the construction "It is high time..." the verb is conjugated for past subjunctive as distinct from past indicative, which is the same in form as the past indicative, except in the past subjunctive singular of "to be", which is "were" instead.

It is hight time you were married.
It is high time you chose a better past time.

Read this:
AUE: FAQ excerpt: Subjunctive
 

Allen165

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In the construction "It is high time..." the verb is conjugated for past subjunctive as distinct from past indicative, which is the same in form as the past indicative, except in the past subjunctive singular of "to be", which is "were" instead.

Could you translate that into English for me?
 

corum

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Could you translate that into English for me?

11.gif
;-)


'Past indicative' and 'past subjunctive' sound like two terrifying names. For the sake of freeing ourselves from the sense of intimidation they convey to us, from now on, let us call them 'Yogi Bear' and 'SpongeBob' respectively. Yogi Bear and SpongeBob are two sets of inflectional systems. We now have yet another scary expression. To remove this too, let us denote 'inflectional system' by the name of 'Smurf'.

Smurfs Figures

What Smurfs do is they assign forms to verbs in certain grammatical structures from the set of forms they contain.

The set of SpongeBob forms for 'be' comprises one element: 'were'. 'be' in all persons and numbers gets this form.
The set Yogi Bear forms of 'be' consists of was and were.
The set of present indicative forms, Cinderella for convenience, of 'be' are: am, are, is,
 
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mmasny

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AFAIK, the problem with the subjunctive is that it half-exists. People rarely say, "If it weren't raining we could go out." They say, "If it wasn't raining we could go out" instead. Gee, who invented punctuation? I have no idea where to put my ,s, "s and .s in these sentences.
 

mmasny

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I also think Fowler exaggerated a little bit. Subjunctive isn't dead and some people still cultivate it.
 

emsr2d2

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The subjunctive is alive and well but if you go to the UK, don't expect to hear it used by more than about half the population, if that many!
 

Raymott

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I also think Fowler exaggerated a little bit. Subjunctive isn't dead and some people still cultivate it.
Indeed. And in this case, not many native speakers would use the present tense here. That's not to say they know they're using the subjunctive though.

In any case, Fowler has been dead for 70 years, while the subjunctive lives. So who's having the last laugh?
 

euncu

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What would be the difference between "high time" and "about time" ?
 

Barb_D

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If you suggest to someone that it's "high time" that something be done, you probably think it's past the time that it should have already been done.

There is a greater sense of urgency to the need to do it
 
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euncu

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There is a greater sense of urgency to the need to do it

So, does this mean that we should choose "high" over "about" if it is of more urgency?
 

Barb_D

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So, does this mean that we should choose "high" over "about" if it is of more urgency?

If you are at a party, and your wife says "It's about time we left, I think" you can finish the story you're telling, finalize the arrangement about what time you're meeting for golf next Saturday, and give another guy the name of the handyman you hired.

If your wife says "It's high time we left," get out your keys and find the hostess to say thank you.

Does that help? :)
 
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