Combination of present and past in a simple sentence?

gilespy

Senior Member
Serbian
Hello everyone,

I've been watching a TV show and one specific line caught my attention: "I think it's time we talked about that."
The context of the discussion was that person 1 indicates to person 2 that they finally need to talk about the situation they are facing.

I am confused here; shouldn't the correct sentence be "I think it's time we talk about this."?

Thank you,
Gile
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    shouldn't the correct sentence be "I think it's time we talk about this."?
    No. You have not found a mistake.

    The possible constructions are:
    "I think it's time [that] we talked about that."
    "I think it's time to talk about that."

    In "I think it's time we talk about this.", "talk" seems to be in the subjunctive - I suspect that it might be OK in AE, but in BE, it sounds very awkward.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    In "it's time (that) we talked..." I reckon "talked" is not simple past tense, but also a kind of subjunctive (the past subjunctive). It seems to fit the context better than PQ's posited "that we talk" present subjunctive.
    An equivalent sentence might be: "it's time (that) we should talk about this".
     
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