# it was time he had gone to college

Could I use the past perfect after the main clause if I want to imply that it was time for him to have gone to college ?

e.g It was high time he had gone to college.

no.

Could you give me a further explanation,please?

I am interested in this as well. Should there be

“It was high time he went to college.”

Thanks

The version with “went” sounds correct to me. However, when I first read the “had gone” version I thought that was OK too, and had more of a sense that he should have already gone. Now I’m not so sure. In the present we say “It’s high time you went to…”, but not “It’s high time you’ve gone to…”, so perhaps that means there shouldn’t be two past tense versions either, and my distinction is bogus.

[edited] … now I’m wondering about “It’s high time you’d gone to…” too (i.e. use of “had gone” in present). If that’s possible then perhaps the past/present symmetry is restored. Alternatively, I may have thoroughly confused myself!

But Dozy, in the sentence, “It was high time he had gone to college.” “Had gone” isn’t the past perfect but the past perfect subjunctive.

How to use the simple past subjunctive in the second clause with the simple past indicative in the first clause?
“It was high time he went to college.”

As you said, we do not say “It is (high) time he goes to college.” but "“It is (high) time he went to college.” .

In the “It is high time he went to college.” he should have gone to the college some time before now but he hasn’t.

In the “It was high time he had gone to college.” he should have gone to the college some time before that time in the simple past.

Thanks

To me, the natural past form of “It is high time he went to college” is “It was high time he went to college”. However, I don’t fully understand whether we should also be able to shift the subjunctive back to “he had gone” (in the manner or “If he went to college” -> “If he had gone to college”), and whether, if we did so, the meaning ought to be different or the same. If the meaning is different, then logically there should be two corresponding present forms. One possibility is:

“It is high time he went to college” -> “It was high time he went to college”
“It is high time he had gone to college” -> “It was high time he had gone to college”

But I am not sure if this is correct, or whether the second pair of sentences are acceptable.

For me, only the second sentence of the second pair is acceptable
‘It is… he had gone’ does not sound right.

I also find ‘It is/was high time he went to college’ the natural form.

One way of explaining the rightness of ‘went’ in contrast to ‘had gone’ is to consider the meaning of ‘high time’. To me this suggests that the time has arrived/arrived when something should happen. In other words ‘It’s/It was high time’ points to what should happen next and not what should have happened. That explanation knocks on the head the use of 'had gone, doesn’t it?

Alan

Hello,

In French it exists past subjonctive but even in the French formal speeking nobody uses it. Mister Micawber’s wrote about it’s time / it’s high time. He also said after it’s time or it’s high time we can say:

1. It’s time/It’s high time for us to leave.
2. It’s time/It’s high we left.

After it’s time we can say:It’s time to leave but after it’s high time we must use simple past that in this case is subjonctive.

Regards.