"I thought you were/had been friends"

roniy

Senior Member
ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
What is the difference between they both?
"I thought you were/had been friends"

If I put were it means that they are not friends now but they were in the past
and the second one means that they probably have never been friends ???
If not what is the difference????

Thanks.
 
  • clapec

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'm not 100% sure, but I will try:

    I thought you were friends, but now I've just realised you are not;
    I thought you had been friends - up to a certain point in the past, before something happened.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    clapec said:
    (1) I thought you were friends, but now I've just realised you are not;
    (2) I thought you had been friends - up to a certain point in the past, before something happened.
    That makes sense to me.

    Neither of these suggest that they were ever friends, only that I thought they were friends. In (1) I thought that until just now. In (2), I thought that until some point in the past. Both indicate some surprise.
     
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