Is this sentence gramatically correct?

We think it's time everyone had access to the means of media production so we have developed a set of tools for it.

Or should I use has instead?

We think it's time everyone has access to the means of media production so we have developed a set of tools for it.

Does it affect the meaning?

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    Compare "It's time we went home" and "It's time we go home". I think this is General Reference for ELU. – FumbleFingers Mar 21 '13 at 18:40
  • @Fumble: I'm sorry—as I'm not a native speaker, I can't compare. If you think the question is GR, so be it, but I honestly don't know the difference. – Dan Mar 21 '13 at 18:47
  • @FumbleFingers Is my interpretation correct? – Dan Mar 21 '13 at 18:58
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    Your question (which form is "correct"?) is easily answered by any native speaker, and perhaps would have been better posed on English Language Learners. As to why we use that verb tense, I'm not really sure. Essentially, it's idiomatic, but my guess is it's a form of subjunctive, which Wikipedia says is called the past subjunctive when referring counterfactually to the present – FumbleFingers Mar 21 '13 at 19:10
  • @FumbleFingers, I disagree. It is not "easily answered by native speakers," since even you yourself say in the very next sentence, "I'm not really sure [why]." – Octopus Mar 22 '13 at 5:01

I think I got it.

The first sentence is like a slogan—it doesn't assert that everyone actually had or has access but argues that it's time for everyone to gain this access.

The second sentence asserts that everyone has access.

In this context, the first sentence fits better because its second part (“we have developed the tools”) answers the goal described in the first part (“it's time everyone had access”).


It's time everyone had access to better Q&A sites, so we made Stack Exchange.

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This is the subjunctive. You can find quite a few instances of it in 19th century literature with Google. For example, Sir Walter Scott used it is time I were returning in Waverly.

Is the meaning different? Technically, there should be a small difference in the meaning, but I don't believe anybody actually makes this distinction nowadays.

Since the were-subjunctive is slowly dying in English, and since this sounds to me like a particularly archaic instance of it, I would recommend just using the indicative.

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  • So this isn't a correct interpretation? – Dan Mar 21 '13 at 19:05
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    @Dan: Your interpretation might be correct if people actually used the indicative and the subjunctive properly. But they don't. If I heard either of these, I'd assume that it meant that it's time for everybody to gain access. – Peter Shor Mar 21 '13 at 19:11

The has version sounds more natural to me. Look at the verbs' diff forms here.

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