I'm not sure if I should write "I no longer think that." or "I no longer thought that." in this excerpt:

"I used to think romantic love was a neurosis shared by two, a supreme foolishness. I no longer thought that. There's nothing foolish in loving anyone. Thinking you'll be loved in return is what's foolish."

3 Answers 3


It depends. Let's say the character (or you) "used to think romantic love was a neurosis shared by two" until something happened last week.

Today, someone asks him/her/you "what did you think about romantic love yesterday?" You should say:

I used to think...I no longer thought that.

You're talking about what the character/you thought yesterday, which is in the past, so past tense should be used.

But if someone asks "what do you think about romantic love?" they are asking about the character's, or your thoughts right now. You should use present tense here:

I used to think...I no longer think that.

Again, it really depends on whether you're talking about the character's/your thoughts at the time of writing or before that.

A couple of examples that I wrote:

  1. When I was little, I used to think there was a monster under my bed. By the time I was 8 years old, I no longer thought that.

Here, I'm using past tense because I'm talking about what I thought when I was 8.

  1. I used to think vegetables were the most disgusting things in the world. Now, I no longer think that, and I do eat them, but I still don't love their taste.

Here, I'm using present tense because I'm talking about what I think right now.

  • 1
    @skam At first I thought you were talking about an excerpt you read somewhere, so I said "the writer". But it looks like you're writing this (off topic, but if that's your writing, it's really great!), so I guess you're either talking about yourself or a character in a story that you're writing. I changed the pronouns accordingly so my answer will be more relevant. Cheers! Jan 22, 2016 at 23:43

"Think" is present tense. "Thought" is past tense. If you want to say that you have come to this conclusion and you still hold this conclusion now, you should use the present tense "think". If you want to say that you came to this conclusion at some time in the past, but have since changed your mind, or the important point is what you thought then and not what you think know, or you don't want to specify whether you still hold this conclusion, you should use the past tense, "thought".

"Yesterday I thought that France was in Asia, but today I know it's in Europe." Clearly the thinking is in the past; I don't think this any more.

"When we asked where France was, I said I thought it was in Asia." This is what I thought at the time. The sentence does not specify whether I still think that today or not.

In context, "think" seems more likely.


I no longer think that.

I think that you need to use present tense because this is how you think now.

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