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Regarding "To" for quotation, thoughts, etc

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Regarding "To" for quotation, thoughts, etc

Postby SebastianSwede » Fri 02.15.2013 2:17 pm

Hi, again!

I have some more questions regarding the particle "to", quotations, thoughts, and so on. I wonder if I can use particles both to express present thoughts, as well as past thoughts. Let me give examples of sentences

I think that she was nice; 彼女は親切だったと思う
I thought that she was nice; 彼女は親切だったと思った

I think that I will go by bus; 私はバスで行こうと思う
I thought about going by bus; 私はバスで行こうと思った

My basic question is this; can the adjectives/verbs/copulas before the "to", as well as the verbs after to, be in any tense I want, past, present, or future, in any combination I want? I'm asking, because my books are not 100 % clear. I'm a little bit of an OCD-person, so I can get quite obsessed with finding out the answer to these kinds of things. I hope I don't come across as being a person who asks ridiculous questions, or questions with obvious answers.

Thanks!
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Re: Regarding "To" for quotation, thoughts, etc

Postby furrykef » Fri 02.15.2013 3:07 pm

Yep. It works pretty much as you expect: you conjugate 思う to indicate when you had the thought, and you conjugate the verb before と to indicate when whatever it was was happening.

You also see 思っていた, which I think is what you use to express "I thought ... [but now I stand corrected]" (e.g. "I thought she was with you!"). It also means "I was thinking", of course.
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Re: Regarding "To" for quotation, thoughts, etc

Postby Ongakuka » Sat 02.16.2013 2:02 am

There's no rule about what tense can come before and after と, but you should bear in mind that the Japanese past tense is treated differently from English (and, Swedish, I assume :p)

Using the past tense in Japanese tends to mean something that *was* no longer *is.*

「彼女は親切だったと思う」

Without any other context, this sentence sounds very specific to a certain time that she was kind, or could suggest that she is not kind any more. The sentence is not wrong, but I *think* what you mean by the English is 「彼女は親切だと思う」 (even if your experience of her kindness was in the past.)

「彼女は親切だったと思った」

In the same way, you should change だった to だ。 「彼女は親切だと思った」 means you thought she is kind (but you don't think so any more.)

「私はバスで行こうと思う」 :wave: have a nice trip

「私はバスで行こうと思った」 = You thought about going by bus (but you're going to go a different way.)
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Re: Regarding "To" for quotation, thoughts, etc

Postby SebastianSwede » Sat 02.16.2013 5:57 am

I see!

Thanks for your replies! ^_^ The questions in my head were really bugging me.
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