Past Tense of Think: What Is It?

The verb “think” is an irregular verb because the simple past and past participle verb forms don’t follow a normal pattern. The past tense of think is “thought.”

Here’s what you need to know about the past tense of think.

What Is the Past Tense of Think?

“Think” is a verb that refers to forming an image or idea in your mind.

It can be both a transitive verb, which means it takes a direct object, or an intransitive verb, which doesn’t require one.

“Think” is an irregular verb. This is because we can’t just add -ed to the end of the verb to conjugate the past tense.

Some present tense verbs that rhyme with “think,” like “blink,” are regular verbs and have an -ed ending in the past tense (“blinked”). Other verbs, like “sink,” change the vowel completely (“sank”).

But “think” is unique. The past tense of think is “thought.”

“Thought” might not make much sense, but it’s not the only verb in English that follows this pattern.

The pattern is similar to the verbs “bring” and “seek.” The past tense forms of these are “brought” and “sought.”

Here’s how to use the past tense verb “thought.”

Present tense: I think about her all day.

Past simple tense: I thought about her all day.

What Is the Past Participle of Think?

The past participle is the verb form used in the perfect tenses, like the past perfect and present perfect tenses.

Some verbs have a separate verb form for the past participle and the past tense, but others use the same for both tenses.

For the verb “think,” the past participle is the same as the past tense: “thought.”

Here’s an example of how to use the past participle of “think.”

Past perfect tense: I had thought about the question for days before finding an answer.

Present perfect tense: I have thought about the question for days.

Future perfect tense: By Monday, I will have thought about the question for days.

Is Thunk the Past Tense of Think?

Some people often confuse the past participle or past tense of “think” with “thunk.” Verbs like “stink” and “sink” use this form as their past participles: “stunk” and “sunk.”

In parts of the United States, “thunk” is used in an informal and usually humorous expression: “who’d have thunk it?”

This phrase expresses surprise or sometimes sarcastically points out that something isn’t surprising.

But this is not a grammatically correct phrase. “Thunk” is not a real verb form.

Examples of the Past Tense of Think in a Sentence

Here are some more examples:

  • We never thought this day would come
  • He has thought long and hard about his decision.
  • They had thought Their troubles would be over.
  • I would have thought the package would be here by then.
  • She thought her new city was an exciting place to live.

ProWritingAid can help you use the correct past tense verbs every time. Try our free grammar checker here.

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