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  1. #1
    sakura-saku is offline Newbie
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    Default "I think so" or "I think that"

    Hello. I need your help.

    "Have we met before?" "I don't think so."

    In the second sentence, is it OK to say "I don't think that" instead? Or does it sound strange? Please tell me.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "I think so" or "I think that"

    Yes, that sounds strange.

    Don't use it.

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: "I think so" or "I think that"

    Quote Originally Posted by sakura-saku View Post
    Hello. I need your help.

    "Have we met before?" "I don't think so."

    In the second sentence, is it OK to say "I don't think that" instead? Or does it sound strange? Please tell me.
    You cannot say "I don't think that." However, you could say: "I don't think that we have [met]."

  4. #4
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "I think so" or "I think that"

    "Have we met before?" "I don't think so."

    Can I say "I'm afraid not" instead?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "I think so" or "I think that"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    "Have we met before?" "I don't think so."

    Can I say "I'm afraid not" instead?
    Yes, you can.

    I don't think that. - This sentence sounds strange as a reply to "Have we met before?" because "that" can't represent the object by itself. The object is really a noun clause: I don't think that we have met before. The word "so" can function to refer back to the expected noun clause, which would be part of the longer reply as opposed to the shorter reply, which uses "so" in place of the noun clause.

    Here's where "I don't think that" is a good sentence, and does not sound strange.

    She thinks she knows it all, doesn't she?

    She can think that, but good people can see right through here. She knows nothing.

    In this last sentence, it is possible to use "that" as a demonstrative pronoun - the object of "think". It would be possible to use "so" as well. However, in "Have we met before?", only "so" can be used for a short reply without using the noun clause as the object.

    This might be possible to explain as follows:

    think - believe something

    think - in reference to one's opinion

    You think you've met her before, don't you? No, I don't think that. = No, I don't believe that.

    Have we met before? No, I don't think so. Not, "No, I don't think that" No, as far as I know we haven't. I can't say for sure, but that's my opinion.
    Last edited by PROESL; 18-Sep-2009 at 05:19.

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