0

This situation is in a movie I was watching.

I had a tour with my friends to a country. I am already back to my home, and I am telling that trip to my parents:

We took part in cultural activities. We had a very authentic cultural experience, and I could tell the entire tour group felt the same way.

  • I could tell the entire tour group felt the same way.

    => The character used this sentence.

  • I can tell the entire tour group felt the same way.

    => If sentence (3) is good to use, I think that this sentence is also good to use. Here, "can tell" is the present form of "could tell", and it expresses that now, this is my opinion on past actions.

  • I think the entire tour group felt the same way.

    =>I think that "think- the present form" is also correct to express that now, this is my opinion on past actions.

  • I would think the entire tour group felt the same way.

    =>I think that "would think" here expresses that the speaker is a little bit uncertain, and this sentence is also good to use.

Are my opinions correct?

5
  • 2
    It doesn't seem natural to me to use I can tell if the speaker was one of the group, because they would have formed their opinion during the trip. You would only use it if you didn't go and are basing your comment on what other people have told you on their return. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 9:51
  • Do you think the version with "think" sounds natural?
    – LE123
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 10:02
  • 1
    Yes - that's a bit different, because it's the opinion you have now, while can/could tell is about observing your fellow-travellers and forming your opinion about how they feel/felt. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 11:21
  • Why can’t I use “I would think” here to show that I am a little uncertain when stating my opinion on that past event?
    – LE123
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:07
  • I didn't say you couldn't use it! I just mentioned the one option that seemed to me inappropriate. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 18:23

1 Answer 1

1

You've gotten good answers in the comments: "I could tell" and "I think" both sound natural, and "I could tell" indicates more certainty.

"I would think" has a connotation in English that "things are not a particular way, but I feel that they should be." For example:

  • "I'm leaving for Topeka tomorrow." "Really? I would think you'd want to leave on Saturday when tickets are cheaper."

Even this is a bit unnatural, since "I would think" is usually used in the past tense: "I would have thought..."

In other words, "I would think" does not express "I think" but with less certainty. For that, you might say, "I'm not sure, but I think..."

You must log in to answer this question.

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