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What is The Past Tense of Think

The verb “think” is both common and useful in English, and is a good word to know for all ESL learners. The word typically means either to direct one’s mind toward something and form ideas about it, or alternatively to hold a particular opinion, view, or idea about something or someone.

The past tense of “think” is “thought” and the past participle is also “thought.”

What is the past tense of “think”?

Think (verb):

(1) Direct one’s mind towards a person or thing; formulate and/or connect ideas in one’s mind

(2) Hold a particular idea, view, or opinion about something or someone

  • Infinitive                      to think
  • Simple Past                thought
  • Past Participle             thought

Conjugation Table of “think”

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Ithinkthoughthave thoughtam thinking
You (sing.)thinkthoughthave thoughtare thinking
He/She/Itthinksthoughthas thoughtis thinking
Wethinkthoughthave thoughtare thinking
You (pl.)thinkthoughthave thoughtare thinking
Theythinkthoughthave thoughtare thinking

Example Sentences of “think”

(1) Direct one’s mind towards a person or thing; formulate and/or connect ideas in one’s mind

  • He thinks about his late wife every single day
  • She sat and thought carefully about what to do next
  • I was thinking about what you said this morning, and I have to say now that I disagree

(2) Hold a particular idea, view, or opinion about something or someone

  • I thought it was a terrible idea this morning, and I still think it’s a terrible idea now
  • He doesn’t think that our current President is doing a good job
  • What do you think of his new book?
  • I thought the movie was terrible, possibly his worst one yet
what is the past tense of think

Focus: Past Tense of Think

To further strengthen our understanding of the verb “think” and especially its past-tense forms, we have prepared some more examples using all of the following tenses:

  • Simple past
  • Present perfect
  • Past continuous
  • Past perfect

Simple Past of “think”

  • He thought that his boss wouldn’t mind about him being late, but he was wrong
  • It was at that moment I thought about my grandmother and what she would have done
  • The students thought carefully about what the teacher was saying to them

Present Perfect of “think”

  • He has thought about leaving his current job for some time
  • Have you thought about what you want to do when you grow up?
  • I have thought about what you asked me this morning, and I have decided to say yes

Past Continuous of “think”

  • What were you thinking when you said that?!
  • I was thinking about your well-being when I made that decision
  • He was thinking about quitting his job, but then the recession hit the entire country

Past Perfect of “think”

  • They had thought their surfing days were over, but then one day everything changed
  • We had thought you were handling this matter, but now you’re telling us that it was our responsibility?

Understanding the Verb “Think”

“Think” derives from Old English “þencan,” meaning to conceive in the mind or consider. It’s a central verb in English, indicating the act of reasoning, judging, or producing a mental image.

Phrasal Verbs with “Think”

  1. Think over: To consider something carefully.
    • I need some time to think it over before making a decision.
    • She thought over the proposal and accepted it.
  2. Think ahead: To consider and plan for the future.
    • Always think ahead and save some money for emergencies.
    • He’s successful because he thinks ahead.
  3. Think of: To produce a thought or idea.
    • What do you think of this new proposal?
    • I can’t think of her name right now.

Common Mistakes with “Think”

  • Incorrect: I am thinking to go to the party.
  • Correct: I am thinking of going to the party.
  • Incorrect: What you think about it?
  • Correct: What do you think about it?

We also have a full list of irregular verbs from A – Z on the site which you can access from the link here.

You can check other past tense words by clicking on the links in the table below.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

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We also have articles and worksheets which we will link examples of below, and if you need more you can try the search box.


So while…

  • Drinks past tense in Drank,
  • and Sinks past tense in Sunk,
  • think in its past tense form is not thunk, or thank, its thought.

This past tense can caught problems, and should be taught on its own to make sure mistakes are kept at a minimum. At least we thunk so!

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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