English translation: spontaneous reaction versus conclusion reached afterward
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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:
Why they do use *I thought* instead of *I think*
spontaneous reaction versus conclusion reached afterward
English term or phrase:Whey they do use *I thought* instead of *I think*
After a cricket match is over, a presentation ceremony is held. The commentator asks certain questions to the captain with regard to the match. The captain generally replies : I thought that the pitch was good enough/I thought he has bowled very well/I thought we should have fielded.
I personally feel that instead of using past tense, the present tense i.e. I think should be used in the above context. Could you inform me as to whether this is some sort of special way of expression or does this have some other connotations as well?
Explanation: You're right, it's a subtle difference. Basically, it has to do with an immediate response to the pitch versus coming to a conclusion after the pitch has been made. In other words, if he says "I thought the pitch WAS good enough," he is describing an immediate, spontaneous reaction he had at the time of the pitch, whereas if he says, "I think the pitch was good enough" it is a conclusion he reaches afterwards, as he thinks about the pitch in response to the commentator's question.
Explanation: Technically you're right. One would expect the present tense because the speaker is talking about how he feels at this moment. But one explanation of using the past tense is that he is referring to how he "felt" at the time the match was being played. Since he's the captain he is not just playing the game but thinking about how it's being played by his team members.
Kim Metzger Mexico Local time: 19:28 Native speaker of: English PRO pts in pair: 2249