How can one talk about their thoughts or what they used to believe before another action in the past.

If that thought or belief is general, then I guess we can use used to.

Assume these examples (the first one is more general than the second one):

1- Before today, I (believed / was believing / used to believe) that the moon (is / was) a star.

2- I (thought / was thinking / used to think) she (was / is) still in the office before I called her.

Which ones in the parentheses are correct?


1) Before today, I believed that the moon was a star.

You could also say:

1) I used to believe that the moon was a star.

Using before today with used to believe is redundant and at least to me sounds odd.

You would use was because we are talking about a past belief, not what the moon actually is.

2) I thought/was thinking she was still in the office before I called her.

Either thought/was thinking could be used depending on context. But not used to think because that indicates multiple instances, while called seems to be a singular event.

And use was to match the past tense.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.