We use this sentence pattern to talk about our ideas, opinions or expectations in the past. We do not think these things now. Subject + thought (that) + past tense sentence
- She thought that baseball was boring when she was young, but now she likes it.
- She thought that the party was fun.
- We thought that the movie was too violent.
- He thought you were nice.
- We thought she would come.
- He thought it was nice.
- The students thought the test was hard.
- Everybody thought it was fun.
We can use this sentence pattern in a few different ways.
1. We can use it to talk about past events or experiences. We still have the same opinion of something, but we use the past tense because it happened in the past.
- I thought that the movie was good.
- She thought the restaurant was nice.
- We thought Europe was amazing.
2. We can use it to talk about our opinions from an earlier time that are different from our opinions now.
- I thought video games were fun when I was young. But now, I don't like them.
- She thought English was hard at first, but she doesn't think that now.
- We thought it wasn't good the first time we went, but now we love it.
3. We can use this pattern to show that something was different than our expectation.
Bonus Tips and Points
- I thought this restaurant was expensive.
(Looking at the menu and seeing cheap prices)
- I thought it was cold in Russia.
(During the summer when it is very hot in Russia)
- We thought that you weren't coming.
(When a friend shows up to a party unexpectedly)
1. We can make a negative past tense sentence by using "did not think", "didn't think", or by adding the word "not" in the statement.
- I did not think that it was good.
(=I thought that it was bad/not good.)
- I didn't think that she was going to come.
(=I thought that she was not going to come.)
- She didn't think that it was spicy.
(=She thought that it wasn't spicy.)
- They did not think that he was working hard.
(=They thought that he wasn't working hard.)
2. Sometimes, we can use either the present tense or past tense to express the same thing.
- I think this book is good.
- I thought this book was good. (In this sentence, we really thought that the book was good.)
3. Unlike #2, we can also use "thought" or "did not think" to show that we were wrong.
Real-World English Conversations
- I thought this book was good, but it was terrible.
- She didn't think she would finish on time, but she did.
- They thought it was cheap, but it was expensive.
A) I thought you were traveling in Europe this week. What are you doing here?
B) I am traveling to Europe next week.
A) What did you think about the movie?
B) I thought that it was okay.
A) What did you think about the meeting?
B) I thought that it was a waste of my time.
A) Ben said that he thought the concert was boring.
B) I didn't think that it was boring. Ben thought it was boring because he hates rock music and it was a rock concert. So, it just wasn't his style. Use these free English lessons to learn the most common sentence patterns in the English language. If you learn these sentences and questions, it will help you speak English well. Study the lessons thoroughly, practice making your own sentences, and come back to review often. If you do these three steps, your English speaking will improve quickly and you will be able to have natural English conversations.