grammatical word: thought

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Today, I have a word for you which can be confusing: “thought”. It can be confusing because sometimes it’s used when we want to say we made a mistake about something, and sometimes it’s used when we want to say we were correct about something. For example:

I made a big mistake at work today. I thought my boss told me to make 50 copies of the report, but actually he said 15.

I thought it would be cold today so I wore a heavy coat, but it turned out to be a warm day.

I thought going for Chinese food would be fun, but nobody else liked the idea.

In the above examples, the person is saying that they made a mistake. Here are some examples of how to use “thought” when we want to say we were right about something:

A: Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, isn’t it?

B: Yes, that’s right.

A: I thought so.

_________________________________________________________________

A: Jennifer?

B: Steven! Oh my God! Long time no see!

A: I thought that was you! How have you been?

_________________________________________________________________

A: Going for Chinese food was a great idea!

B: I thought people would like it.

So, as you can see, when we use “thought” to say we were correct about something, it’s usually used as a response to another person’s  statement. Also, when we use this word about being correct, we have to stress the word much more strongly. Please compare the following two sentences:

I thought everyone would LIKE the party decorations.

I THOUGHT everyone would like the party decorations.

In the first sentence, the person means that they were wrong and that the people didn’t like the party decorations. In this case, we must stress the word “like”. In the second sentence, the person means that they were right and that the people did like the party decorations. In this case, we must stress the word “thought”.

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