It’s time + subject + Past Simple

We can use the construction it’s time + subject + past verb form to refer to the present moment:

Gosh! It’s almost midnight. It’s time we went home.

Not: It’s time we go home.

If you feel that that something should be done but it is already late for something to happen, you can use the construction ‘It’s time…’

This structure might look unusual, because it uses a past tense form to talk about the present or future. You can criticize or complain by using this structure.

  • It’s time you got that car repaired. (This pattern shows a little less urgency.)
  • It’s time we bought a new car.
  • It’s time you went to bed. You’ll have to get up early tomorrow.
  • It’s high time I bought a new pair of jeans.
  • It’s about time this road was completed. They’ve been working on it for months.
  • The windows are very dirty. I think it’s time we cleaned them.

To make the criticism  stronger you can use “It’s high time” or “It’s about time”:

  • Jane is a great talker. But it’s about time she did something instead of just talking.
  • You are very selfish. It’s high time you realized that you are not only one in the world. 

It’s time + infinitive

When we say that the right time has arrived for something and we are still in time, we can use the following patterns: It’s time (for you) to go to bed. It’s time to say goodbye. It’s time for breakfast.

You can say “It’s time” for somebody to do something by using this structure  + infinitive to express your opinion or a piece of advice:  It’s time (for us) to go home.

It’s time with a verb in the to-infinitive form can refer to the speaker and the listener together: Come on. It’s time to start packing. We have to leave in two hours. (or It’s time we startedpacking.)

Note that these expressions are mainly used in formal contexts. In less formal situations, we are more likely to use a form with let.

Have practice and use the construction It’s high time

Exercise 1. Complete the sentences with the verbs in the correct form: start, eat, finish, stop, pay, speak, realise, get, go, be

  1. It’s high time we __________ home.
  2. It’s about time you __________ to study harder.
  3. It’s time you __________ to your parents about the problem.
  4. It’s about time you __________ staying out so late.
  5. It’s time you __________ your assignmment.
  6. It’s high time you __________ more exercise.
  7. It’s about time we __________ more sensibly.
  8. It’s high time you __________ more polite.
  9. It’s time you __________ a visit to your friend.
  10. It’s about time we __________ we can’t finish the project on time.

Exercise 2. What would you say to someone in these situations using It’s time / It’s about time / It’s high time

  1. My room is a mess. _____________________________________________________________
  2. I keep failing my tests. __________________________________________________________
  3. My clothes are dirty. ____________________________________________________________
  4. I never have any money. _________________________________________________________
  5. I’m really sleepy. ______________________________________________________________
  6. I am overweight. ______________________________________________________________

Exercise 3. Complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first. Use It’s time / It’s high time / It’s about time.

Example: You should forget about the issue It’s not important. – It’s high time you forgot about the issue. It’s not important. 

  1. The government should invest more in the environment.
  2. Get up! You’ll be late for school.
  3. Your hair is dirty. Wash it!
  4. Please hurry up and do your homework.
  5. The children should be in bed by now.
  6. You should write to your uncle and apologize.
  7. You have to think about the future.

 Exercise 4. Complete the sentences with the verbs: finish, start, eat, pay, speak, stop, realise, be, get, go. You will have to change the tense of the verbs.

  1. It’s about time you ____________ less. You’re getting fat!
  2. It’s high time you ____________ more respectful to your parents.
  3. It’s high time we ____________ back to our house.
  4. It’s about time you ____________ to exercise.
  5. It’s time you  ____________ to your mother about your boyfriend.
  6. It’s high time you ____________ more exercise.
  7. It’s time you ____________ a visit to the dentist.
  8. It’s about time we ____________ that we won’t be able to finish the job by the deadline.
  9. It’s about time you ____________ getting so angry about small things.
  10. It’s time you ____________ writing your thesis.