Can you please tell me what is correct:

The situation is that you have been to a movie with another person. At the end of the movie you ask:

What did you think of the movie?

I want to know that persons thoughts of the movie and even though an opinion is used in the present, the movie finished and I want to know what they thought. Is it correct to use this form?

  • 2
    That's the way I'd say it. What do you think of the movie would work too, but thoughts tend to be residual, so what I thought is often what I think still. – ScotM Mar 24 '15 at 16:40
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    'What did you think of' is the normal choice where something is definitely and completely over, even if only minutes ago. With episodes (eg you've just watched the 14th episode of Gotham), you can choose to focus on the episode or the ongoing series. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 24 '15 at 17:28
  • That's exactly what I thought! I have a student who refuses to accept my explanation so thought I might seek some advice. Very much appreciated! Thanks – RenB Mar 24 '15 at 17:44
  • "What did you think of the movie?" is fine for making conversation after, though "So, whad'ja think of the movie?" would be closer to normal. Or "Howd'ja like the movie?" "What do you think of the movie?", on the other hand, seems (if asked after the movie has ended) to be asking for a technical analysis, which is usually not the intent. – Hot Licks Mar 24 '15 at 23:23

To expand a bit on what @Edwin Ashworth stated, to ask someone's thoughts now on something ongoing (or going on now) or will occur in the future, one uses the present tense of the verb, e.g. "What do you think...":

What do you think of this dinner?
What do you think of the show, Gotham?
What do you think of Camus' philosophy?
How do you think he's going to react? When do you think she will return

To ask about something that is completed/finished, use the past tense did:

What did you think of the dinner (we just ate)?
What did you think of Gotham (that you watched) last night? What did you think of Camus' L'Étranger (that you read)?
How did you think he was going to react?
When did you think she was going to/would return


It would be better to say - "What do you think of the movie?.

Suppose you are driving back home after watching the movie, and you ask the same question (you want to know if your friend liked the movie or not) - What do you think of the movie? Will it do well overseas? As you are asking your friend to think at that moment so you should say - 'what do you think'.

But if you want to refer to that period of time when you were watching the movie, you would say e.g. "what did you eat during the interval?"

Again you can ask your friend - "What will you say about the climax of the movie?"

So it is not about the time the movie ends or is going on, its about the the time you are asking your friend to think of the movie.

  • "What did you think of the movie?" is perfectly fine. You're making conversation, not analyzing it for Rotten Tomatoes. – Hot Licks Mar 24 '15 at 23:24

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