Kono-mise-no nedan-wa yasuku-nai-to omou-nā. (I don’t think this shop’s prices are reasonable.)

Situation 1: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are online shopping, checking prices.

夫: この店の値段は安くないと思うなあ。送料がけっこう 高いよ。

妻: そうか。じゃ、送料無料の店のほうが結局安くなるのね。

Otto: Kono-mise-no nedan-wa yasuku-nai-to omou-nā. Sōryō-ga kekkō takai-yo.

Tsuma: Sō-ka. Ja, sōryō-muryō-no mise-no hō-ga kekkyoku yasuku-naru-no-ne.

Husband: I don’t think this shop’s prices are reasonable. The postage charge is quite expensive.

Wife: I see. Then, the price of a shop that offers free shipping is more reasonable after all.

This week, we will introduce the meaning and proper use of the negative expression and past tense of X と思う. You may wonder which one is better to use X (verb in nai-form) と思う or X (verb in dictionary form) と(は)思わない when you want to say “I don’t think. ” In Japanese, X (verb in nai-form)と思う is usually used as in the husband’s remark above. Another example: きょうは雨(あめ)は降(ふ)らないと思うから、かさは持(も)っていかないよ (I don’t think it’ll rain today, so I won’t bring my umbrella.) X (verb in dictionary form) と(は)思わない is mainly used when the speaker denies someone else’s remark, but it sounds rather strong. For example: 「私(わたし)は南(みなみ)さんが司会(しかい)にいいと思います。」「そうですか? 私は南さんがいいとは思いませんが。声(こえ)が小(ちい)さいですよ。」 ”I think Mr. Mitami would be a good master of ceremonies.” “Really? I don’t think he’s good. He has small voice.” In this case, the speaker often adds が or けど to soften the negative meaning.

Situation 2: Ms. Gray and Ms. Tamachi are chatting about their colleague Mr. Mita.

グレイ: 私は三田さんはパーティーに行ったと思ったの。でも、本当は行かなかったんだって。

田町: あ、それは橋本さんがそのパーティーに参加しないって聞いたからよ。

Gray: Watashi-wa Mita-san-wa pātī-ni itta-to omotta-no. Demo, hontō-wa ikanakatta-n-datte.

Tamachi: A, sore-wa Hashimoto-san-ga sono pātī-ni sanka-shinai-tte kiita-kara-yo.

Gray: I thought he would go to the party. But actually, I heard he didn’t go.

Tamachi: Oh, that’s because he heard that Ms. Hashimoto wouldn’t attend the party.

X (verb in dictionary form)と思った means I thought someone/something would X) as in 三田さんは行くと思った ([At that time,] I thought that Mr. Mita would go). X (verb in ta-form)と思った means I thought someone/something had X as in 私は三田さんは行ったと思った (I thought Mr. Mita had gone there [but, I don’t know actually]. For comparison, X (verb in dictionary form) と思う means I think someone/something will X as in 三田さんは行くと思う (I think Mr. Mita will go.), and X (verb in ta-form)と思う means I think someone/something did X as in三田さんは行ったと思う (I think Mr. Mita went there [at least I think so].)

Bonus Dialogue: continued from Situation 2.

グレイ: 三田さんは橋本(はしもと)さんとつきあい始(はじ)めたけど、どうかなあ。

田町: 三田さんは橋本さんとはうまくいかないと思(おも)う。だって、二人は性格的(せいかくてき)に合(あ)わないもの。

グレイ: でも、まだわからないよ。はじめ、橋本さんは三田さんを断(ことわ)ると思ったけど、実際(じっさい)には断らなかったね。

田町: そうね。意外(いがい)だったね。つきあい始めたって聞いたとき、1ヶ月(いっかげつ)も続(つづ)かないと思ったけど、まだ続いているし。でも、三田さんのどこがいいのかな。

グレイ: うーん、好(す)きな人のためなら、何(なん)でも言(い)われたことをちゃんとやることかな。

田町: そうね。これからの男子(だんし)はそれが重要(じゅうよう)よね。

Gray: Mr. Mita has started to go out with Ms. Hashimoto. I wonder if he’ll be able to get on well with her.

Tamachi: I don’t think he can. Because they’re incompatible.

Gray: I don’t know yet, though I thought Ms. Hashimoto would reject him, but actually she didn’t.

Tamachi: That’s true, it was unexpected. When he started going out with her, I thought he wouldn’t be able to get along with her for a month, but he’s still with her. What does she like about him though?

Gray: Hmm. He’ll do anything for the girl he loves.

Tamachi: Yeah. That’s important for men these days.

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