Dear teachers,
Please explain the usage of the two grammatical structures:
1. It's high time you got out and about more.
2. It's high time for you to get out and about more.
Are they the same?
Thank you.
Original Post
quote:
1. It's high time you got out and about more.
2. It's high time for you to get out and about

It's high timeis like the second conditional in this respect: the verb is expressed in the past tense to refer to the present.

Indeed, it is conditional in meaning:

It's high time (that) you got married. You are not married now, but if you got married, that would be good.

In your sentences, Coco, the addressee apparently doesn't get out and about much. However, if the addressee got out and about more, it would be good. It's high time that he got out and about more.

Examples from the New York Times:

  • It’s high time that we all recognized the Cheney is the crazy uncle who's usually kept away from visitors and even related children. ...

  • It's high time that the Department of Homeland Security investigated ''Hannity's America.'' This Sunday night talk show, led by Sean Hannity ...

    _______

    It's also possible to use 'it's high time' with the 'for you to' construction, as in the first sentence.

    Examples from the New York Times:

  • it’s high time for Coulter to be called out for what she is…she's an entertainer Much like her buddy Limbaugh. They never have anything ...

  • It’s high time for parents everywhere to unplug the television for the sake of their children's growth and development. Whatever happened to reading stories, ...
    _______

    The meanings of the constructions are almost exactly the same: it would be right for the situation to be different, and it's even later than it should be for the situation to be different.

    With the infinitive construction, there is a bit more confidence that the situation can change.

    In your sentences, the first one indicates that the speaker wishes that the addressee would get out and about more; the second one wishes that too, but has a little hope that he actually might get out and about more.
    _______

    Now, here is something else that you will also see and hear: It's high time (that) + subject + the verb in the present: It's high time that you get out and about more.

    Some examples from the New York Times:

  • It's high time that he comes up with new strategies to improve the share price or the company should be looking for new leadership. ...

  • And it’s high time that we have a different kind of tax structure, and the fair tax would get us there.

  • It's high time that he comes up with new strategies to improve the share price or the company should be looking for new leadership. ...

    Your sentence could also be written like this:

    It's high time that he gets out and about more.

    The meaning is a hope for him to get out and about more.
    _______

    There's one more thing: the sentence can also be written as 'it's high time' + the subject + the verb in its subjunctive form. Here are examples from the New York Times:

  • The commission has all the relevant facts at hand, and it's high time that it follow through on its oft-repeated commitment to adopt a ...

  • ''I think it's high time that that be taken into consideration in the judgment of the New Jersey State Police and other law police ...

    Your sentence could also be this:

    It's high time that he get out and about more.

    This last way is a very strong recommendation.
  • tanski posted:

    Is the above relevant for American English only?

    No, Tanski. Rachel did not expressly restrict her explanation to American English. Of the patterns she discusses, the use of "It's time that . . ." with the past tense in the "that"-clause is the most traditional and universal. I find the examples from the New York Times, with the simple present in the "that"-clause, to be unusual and a bit awkward. I believe those quotations are from letters to the editor rather than from articles written by outstanding NYT journalists.

    Last edited by David, Moderator

    Thank you, David. The examples with 'that'-clause and present surprised me and made me wonder whether the quotes come from one author only.

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