Earlier I saw native's comment on social media. She said "I hated this episode".

Why didn't she use present verb "hate" since in that time she was telling something to everyone? I looked-up on my dictionary and found an example:

hate to do something: He hated to be away from his family.

Can you explain their difference? I'm questioning about my understanding now since It looks like there's no difference in use there?

By the way, I've read this, but still got no clue.

  • They are not interchangeable. The tense choice directly reflects when "hate" happened. There's no idiomatic usage.
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


It is mostly idiom, not grammar.

The sense is "I felt the emotion of "hate" when I watched the episode." She is reporting her feeling at the time and so uses the past tense.

It would have been correct for her to say "I hate this episode". In this case she is talking about her current opinion about the episode. But it is perhaps more common to report feelings in the past tense, since at the time of speaking, the initial emotion has passed. This is the idiomatic way of expressing your (strong) opinion about a film that you have watched.

It is equally idiomatic to say "I loved this episode" or "I liked bungee jumping" to describe your opinion of something, and imply that you expect that you would still love it if you watched it again.

  • 3
    What's the idiom? I don't see one, just changing tenses
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 20:30
  • The idiomatic nature is that "I hated that episode" and "I hate that episode", in context have much the same meaning. (Obviously if she said "I hated that episode when I saw it, but now I love it" that would be different) When she said "I hated that episode" we infer that she still would hate it. The use of past tense is therefore idiomatic, and not a grammatical necessity, nor a semantic element of speech.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 20:35
  • This meaning applies to all verbs of opinion and emotion, so it's not idiomatic to "hate": I didn't enjoy that episode. I loved that episode. I hated bungee jumping. etc. What people commonly infer from an expression isn't part of its meaning.
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 20:44
  • 3
    Further, it would be very unusual (certainly in BrE) to say "I hate this episode" if you only watched it once. The past tense here implies a transient hated associated with a transient event. The present would imply something habitual, perhaps it's a series you really love and have watched many times, but you hate one episode. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 22:27
  • 1
    @SimonN exactly that. If someone says they liked skydiving, I only assume they have skydived at least once in the past; but if someone says they like skydiving, I can assume it is something they do regularly.
    – Carcer
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 23:19

The past-tense form conveys, "My experience of watching this episode was a very negative experience." The present-tense form conveys, "My feelings (today) towards this episode are very negative." Both are reasonable and legitimate statements to make, and are obviously closely related to each other. Typically, someone would express having strong feelings ("I hate that") about something that has ongoing relevance to their life, which might not apply to a single television or video series episode, so it would generally be more typical for someone to report their reaction to watching the episode ("I hated it") rather than to express that they disliked it so much that they're still carrying around strong feelings about it a day or a week later.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .