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Which one is correct? Please answer only if you are a native English speaker. I feel like the first sentence is the right one. Edit: What I mean is, say I am watching a movie and I am guessing that the movie ended at a scene. Later when I am watching that movie again with a friend I am wanting to say what I had thought at that part of the movie to my friend. So, if I say ''I had thought the movie had ended at this scene'' it means that my thought was that the movie ''ended'' there but if I say ''I had thought the movie ended at this scene'' it means that my thought was that the movie ''ends'' there, right? I hope I could explain well, lol.

closed as unclear what you're asking by RaceYouAnytime, Peter Shor , Cascabel, Edwin Ashworth, David Jul 9 '17 at 7:44

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    Possible duplicate of Past Perfect vs Past Simple – RaceYouAnytime Jul 7 '17 at 21:37
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    They're both correct, but they mean different things. Please explain what you want to say in more detail. – Peter Shor Jul 7 '17 at 21:46
  • Thanks. What I mean is, say I am watching a movie and I am guessing that the movie ended at a scene. Later when I am watching that movie again with a friend I am wanting to say what I had thought at that part of the movie to my friend. So, if I say ''I had thought the movie had ended at this scene'' it means that my thought was that the movie ''ended'' there but if I say ''I had thought the movie ended at this scene'' it means that my thought was that the movie ''ends'' there, right? I hope I could explain well, lol. – Fire and Ice Jul 7 '17 at 22:04
  • Yes, the difference in my mind is the end of the content, vs the end of the showing. – Jim Jul 7 '17 at 22:17
  • Jim, thanks but I don't understand. Can you explain more cleanly? :) – Fire and Ice Jul 7 '17 at 22:25
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If you say

I had thought the movie had ended at this scene.

or

I thought the movie had ended at this scene.

you imply that you were watching the movie, you reached the scene, and at that time you thought that scene was the end of the movie.

Why? Because had ended means that the movie ended before the time frame this sentence is set in, and at this scene gives this time frame. (You presumably thought it ended at and not before this scene, but English allows for a little leeway in time frames.)

If you say

I had thought the movie ended at this scene.

you aren't implying anything about when you thought the movie ended at the scene. Maybe you watched it a long time ago, and for some reason you stopped watching when you got to the scene, and you thought that was the end. But now you're watching the movie again and you realize that scene wasn't really the end. This sentence is compatible with the first interpretation, but it's not the only thing that this sentence could mean.

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They are both correct and mean essentially the same thing. But this one is preferable:

I had thought the movie ended at this scene.

In the other form you are being more verbose with the tenses of "had". It's basically more "wordy".

Edit 1: To add one more piece of insight, you could even change it to:

I thought the movie ended at this scene.

That one might even be more correct than the first one I suggested depending on the intentions with your friend. The "had" implies that you thought something in the past and that thought has maybe changed. However, either one I quoted are fine.

Edit 2:

The way many native speakers will handle the scenario you mentioned (that specific scenario where you watched if before with the friend and now realize your thoughts were wrong) would be something such like:

I always thought the movie [had - optional] ended at this scene.....

(continuing with your thoughts about how it changed)

Examples:

I always thought the movie had ended at this scene, but it was quite interesting to find out there was a post credit scene.

or

I always thought the movie ended at this scene, but it was quite interesting to find out there was a post credit scene.

  • “The comments above” talk about them meaning different things. – Jim Jul 7 '17 at 22:11
  • You are right. Let me be more clear. I will make the appropriate edits so it's more clear to any non-native speakers. – Kace36 Jul 7 '17 at 22:15
  • Jim, yeah I think the meanings are different too. I am nearly sure. – Fire and Ice Jul 7 '17 at 22:15
  • No, no. They mean the same thing guys. I should not have used that wording as it was slightly unclear because the comment did indeed indicate they were different in meaning. I've updated my answer. – Kace36 Jul 7 '17 at 22:17
  • @Kace36 - See my comment above – Jim Jul 7 '17 at 22:18

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