The other day I missed my bus, and I kept wondering what time would it have passed. That's the thing, what's the correct way to say it? I have 3 options. I would really appreciate it, if you could give me a hand.

  1. What time would it pass?
  2. What time would it have passed?
  3. What time had it passed? (not sure about this one)

P.S ... actually the bus never passed at all, and I stood there wondering the time it would have passed.

  • The first isn't in the past tense, so that's out. The second implies that it never passed in the first place. This leaves the third (which is correct). – Blubberguy22 Jun 7 '16 at 19:11
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    I would say "At what time did it pass?" – Barmar Jun 7 '16 at 19:12
  • Yeah, actually the bus never passed at all, and I stood there wondering the time it would have passed. I think @deadrat explains it very well on his comment below, but thanks anyway for your comments. Now I have a better idea ;) – Oscar G. Jun 9 '16 at 1:47
  • When was it scheduled to show up? – Hot Licks Oct 14 '16 at 12:26

You're fighting two idiomatic uses of the verb to pass. The first is the elapse of time, as in

Why would time seem to pass so slowly when you're waiting for a bus?

The second is the meaning of not stopping. Places where a bus picks up and leaves off passengers is called a bus stop. Not all buses stop at every bus stop, and those that don't pass the stop. Here's someone online commenting on rude Irish bus drivers:

[W]hen my daughter was in her first year in [S]t [P]ats in [D]rumcondra the bus drivers regularly passed the bus stop, leaving her and other students standing there.

You'll need another verb, and it will have to be in a past tense. Perhaps

What time would the bus have left the bus stop?

  • Perhaps the answer is wrong. Is there any way to know? Perhaps the answer needs improvement. Is there any way to know how? No, to both questions, courtesy of driveby downvoters, a curse upon this site. – deadrat Jun 10 '16 at 0:37
  • Just a guess, but isn't your suggestion hypothetical? In your answer, the speaker is asking what time would the bus have left if something had not prevented it from leaving at that time. There was a delay of some sort and the bus didn't leave at the arranged time. The OP, if I've understood correctly, didn't catch the bus. The bus (presumably) did leave on time, he arrived too late at the bus stop. It's a different situation. – Mari-Lou A Jun 10 '16 at 17:14
  • @Mari-LouA See Oscar G's last comment below his question. Your interpretation is reasonable and is supported by Barmar's comment below the question. My objection, as always, isn't to the observation that I might be wrong. – deadrat Jun 10 '16 at 18:15

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