It's <about> time we went

englishgrammar

Member
Croatian - Croatia
01. Look, it's nearly midnight. It's about time we went.
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I seem not to understand use of prepositions here. Is it possible to rewrite these sentences? Thanks


 
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  • Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "It's about time <pronoun> <verb>" is an idiomatic usage in English, you won't manage to make logical sense out of the preposition here.
    You could say it means 'almost time..', but even then that's slightly different from the intended expression, which means 'let's leave now'

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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US

    01. Look, it's nearly midnight. It's about time we went.
    <<...>>
    I seem not to understand use of prepositions here. Is it possible to rewrite these sentences? Thanks.
    Both of these are set expressions, and you can't really separate the prepositions from the nouns that follow them. That is, we're not talking here about "about" <<...>> but about about time <<...>>.

    About time can mean one of two things, depending on the context.


    In the context above, it means that it's the proper time, but not necessarily exactly to the minute. You might say it means "around the proper time, and not much later".

    You might also say, after waiting for a friend who was to meet you for lunch at a particular hour and finally arrives ten minutes late: "It's about time! I was worried!" Here "about time" really means "It's past the time!"

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    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    According to the OED "about time" does mean approximately the right time (to do something) here, but that the usage now is ironical, meaning, as Parla says, well past the time.
     
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