In English, we have a "time to [A]" phrase that indicates something like "now is the appropriate moment to [A]" or "now is the moment at which [A] will happen".
Examples include, "Time to go", "Time to sleep", "Time to shower", "Time to set this project aside", "Time to die", "Time to live", etc.
Given that “的” can be used to form adjectival phrases and that “时候” seems to represent a point in time, my first notion would be to use “[A]的时候”, but that is the same construction to mean "when [A]". I could see that context could be used to distinguish the two notions, but from my experience "[A]的时候" is taken to mean "when" rather than "time to [A]". (I can see why "[A]的时候" means "when" as it appears to more literally mean "[at] [A]'s point in time")
I have also thought of "[A]的时间", but then "时间" is more of a continuous time period, rather than a point in time. Though, it can be used to refer to a definite "clock time", which has a point-like quality to it (as in "什么时间？"）.
When using Google translate (which I don't trust for something that is this idiomatic), it seems to suggest a few patterns:
- 【该[A]了】： 该走了, 该洗澡了 (which I understand to more literally mean "[I/you/we] should do [A] now")
- 【是时候[A]了】： 是时候睡觉了, 是时候将该项目搁置一旁了 (which I understand to more literally mean "now is the point in time to do [A]")
- 【[A]时间】： 死亡时间， 生存时间 (which I understand to more literally mean "time period to [A]", rather than "now is the moment at which we [A]")
Assuming that I am interpreting the literal meanings correctly (please correct me if I am wrong), I can see that the different patterns do seem to approximate the nuances encoded in the various "time to [A]" expressions in English, to various degrees of accuracy. However, given the idiomatic nature of this expression I need more guidance to know which Chinese expression(s) to use (if any).
My question: is there a single Chinese equivalent to "time to [A]", are there multiple situation-dependent equivalents (like the different patterns from Google translate), or is such a set expression not used/common in Chinese for this purpose?