It's about time you sell that old car and buy yourself a new one

  1. It’'s about time you sell that old car and buy yourself a new one.

Is this a correct phrase? Or must it be in imperfekt, as in:

  1. It’s about time you sold that old car and bought yourself a new one.

Can someone please give examples in texts where the first example,
number 1, is used. Of course, it does not have to be about cars.

Thank you all! / Thomas

Here, it’s used:

Well, enough talk from me … it’s About Time you take a look at what we have to offer!

abouttimeacres.com/

Its about time you’re back in my life
Cause I miss you honey
Its about time you’re back in my sight
Cause I need you honey

musicloversgroup.com/one-nig … nd-lyrics/

Isn’t it ‘about time’ you have the knowledge needed to plan and engage in time management solutions with success?

careerbuilderinstitute.com/e … ining.aspx

Hi,

I don’t think your sentence is right.
The grammar tells us that after the clause “it’s about time”, you need to use the past tense, not present.
I also did’t find in my textbook any note about any exceptions to this rule, so in my opinion,

Could any of the native speakers tell us if it is natural to use the present tense ?

Which grammar?

It’s natural for some native speakers.

Hi, Molly

Well, this year my teacher (a native speaker of American English, by the way) told me that only the past tense can be used in sentences such as the one in question

I’d be grateful if native speakers shared their ideas on this question, please :slight_smile:

I always thought that only the past tense can be used, but Molly and Hegamonia have sown the seeds of doubt into my heart.

May it’s hight time answers some of your questions. In addition, high time + subjunctive might be interesting as well.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A woman wearing a headset[YSaerTTEW443543]

“It’s time for you [infinitive]” -It’s time for you to go to bed, for him to step up to the plate, for her to make a decision.

But for no reason that I can understand, we do backshift for "It’s time… you went to bed, he stepped up to the plate, she made a decision.

I think in speaking, we sometimes forget where we are in a sentence. You make a mental shift in how you are thinking about the sentence from one to the other and change the tense to match the new version. So I’m sure you hear it with the present all the time. I’m surprised you were able to find examples in careful writing though.

Hi, Torsten and Barb D

Thank you, now my suspicions are allayed and I’m sure that only It’s about time you [color=red]sold that old car and buy yourself a new one is correct

I see what you mean, I heard it with the present in American movies a few times. I reckon that we can put it down to carelessness. :slight_smile:

Hi Alex

This is how I would interpret the following sentences (without any further context):

“It’s about time you are back in my life” --> You are back in my life now (it’s factual), but your return was long overdue.

“It’s about time you were back in my life” --> Possibly: You are not back in my life yet, and the time that you have been out of my life has already been too long. (Or it could also be similar in meaning to the first sentence.)
.
.
If I heard somebody say “It’s about time you sell that old car”, I would understand ‘sell’ as subjunctive – i.e. a usage similar to “It’s important that he sell that car as soon as possible.”
.

I would agree that the second verb is subjunctive, and thus only “past” in form:

  1. It is (about) time that you did X.
  2. ?It is (about) time that you do X.

(I wouldn’t expect to hear #2 in BrE.)

MrP

Hi, Amy

Or, sticking to your interpretation of “about time” as important, we can say “it’s about time you be back in my life” ? Does it work ?

Thanks!

Hi all

  • “It’s about time you sold that old car.”

The sentence above could be a reference to either the past or the future.
.
.
To me, if you change that sentence to

  • “It’s about time you sell that old car.”

then it is clear that the car has not been sold yet, but the the speaker thinks it is advisable to do so soon.

That’s my take.
.

No, that doesn’t sound at all natural to my ear.

Interestingly, I found a “rule” about “It’s time” in a grammar book once. Basically, the “rule” they gave was that “It’s time (someone) did” should be treated as an idiom. In other words, they more or less described that phrase as having its own private rule. :lol:
.

Basically, the “rule” they gave was that “It’s time (someone) did” should be treated as an idiom.

If so, couldn’t “It’s time to sell that car” also be classes as an idiom?

The only thing I can see as the reason for the past tense /remote form is that “It’s about time…” introduces a suggestion. It’s a modal expression, and
similar to “It’s time we left”. The speaker can express social-distance, tentativeness, politeness, etc. with the past tense/remote form. Maybe that’s what’s going on with “It’s about time you + past tense/remote form”.

Polite, tentative, and deferential incidences of “it’s about time you” from the BNC:

  1. Don’t you think it’s about time you pushed off, Piper?

  2. It’s about time you and Mummy stopped going to that dreary old Richardson in the High Street and switched to Mr Vigo.

  3. Isn’t it about time you told me what really happened back at your flat in Radnor Walk?

  4. So you’re still at it, then; isn’t it about time you packed it in?

  5. Parent: It’s about time you tidied up your socks.

  6. Personally I think it’s about time you had a bit of life.

  7. It’s about time you went home.

  8. He went to look at the window sill and there was this think it’s about time You did something about these.

  9. Well, I think it’s about time you did some work.

  10. Then it’s about time you did,’; he said, indifferent to her embarrassment.

  11. if you don’t like the sound of it Mrs then I’m sorry for you but this is what democracy is all about and it is about time you listened to what people have to say.

  12. Government and hospitals are not opting out of the N H S at all, they are every much of it a as part of the Health Service as they every have been and you all know that and it’s about time you stopped saying it.

  13. It’s about time you realised how serious it all is and the intolerable position you’ve put me in with your irrational behaviour.

  14. It’s about time you you switched the heating and learnt how to do it.

  15. Dave it’s about time you bloody settled down.

MrP

You missed the “etc.”(remoteness from present reality, for one) didn’t you?

<<The speaker can express social-distance, tentativeness, politeness, etc.>>

  1. Don’t you think it’s about time you pushed off, Piper? (Indirect/remote.)

Push off now, Piper. (Direct/close.)

  1. It’s about time you and Mummy stopped going to that dreary old Richardson in the High Street and switched to Mr Vigo. (Indirect/remote.)

Stop going to that dreary old Richardson in the High Street and switch to Mr Vigo. (Direct/close.)

Back soon.

  • “It’s about time you sold that old car.”

The sentence above could be a reference to either the past or the future.
.
.
To me, if you change that sentence to

  • “It’s about time you sell that old car.”

then it is clear that the car has not been sold yet, but the the speaker thinks it is advisable to do so soon.

So, if I want to emphasize that the person has not sold the car yet but I want him to do so, I find it advisable, the best and perhaps right choice is the second example?
“It’s about time you sell that old car …” I do not know if anyone knows Swedish, but it is from this language that I translated the phrase from and into English. In Swedish the phrase was: “Det är på tiden att du säljer den där gamla bilen och köper en ny.”

“It’s about time you sold that old car.”

The sentence above could be a reference to either the past or the future.
.
.
To me, if you change that sentence to

  • “It’s about time you sell that old car.”

then it is clear that the car has not been sold yet, but the the speaker thinks it is advisable to do so soon.

So, if I want to emphasize that the person has not sold the car yet but I want him to do so, I find it advisable, the best and perhaps right choice is the second example?
“It’s about time you sell that old car …” I do not know if anyone knows Swedish, but it is from this language that I translated the phrase from and into English. In Swedish the phrase was: “Det är på tiden att du säljer den där gamla bilen och köper en ny.”

So what would this refer to?

“It was (about) time you sold that old car.”

“So what would this refer to?” Do you mean in Swedish?