Jag trodde att du slutat.

English Translation

I thought you quit.

Would it be wrong to say one of these sentences instead?

  • Jag trodde att du slutade.
  • Jag trodde att du hade slutat.

That doesn’t sound quite right, unless you follow up with some kind of time reference, such as “i går”.

That sounds fine.

Fun fact: you can actually abbreviate the sentence a bit further: “Jag trodde du slutat.”

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Interesting. So it doesn’t work quite exactly like with English, where it’s

  • I [simple past tense] that you [simple past tense].
  • Jag [simple past tense] att du [simple past tense].

In Swedish, you’d prefer to use the present perfect or past perfect over the simple past tense? That is, either one of these:

  • Jag trodde att du har slutat.
  • Jag trodde att du hade slutat.

where the ‘har’/‘hade’ (and even the ‘att’) is optional.

This is a difficult question with no definitive answer. I’m sure there are contexts where “att du slutade” will work, but I feel that “hade slutat” is the safest choice, at least with a verb like “sluta”, that has a terminative aspect. But if you take a verb like “ljuga”, it’s natural to say “Jag trodde du ljög” (I thought you lied).

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Interesting. Thanks for elaborating (and sorry for the late reply).

Let’s say, for example, you want to quit smoking. You could do this in two different ways:

  • stop completely from one day to the next; starting tomorrow, you will never smoke again
  • slowly fading out; today, you smoke 10 cigarettes; tomorrow only 9; the day after that only 8, and so on

Could one say that you use

  • “hade slutat” to convey that one beautiful day you simply stopped, from one day to the next
  • and “slutade” if you wanted to convey the slowly fading process, that each day you reduced a bit more until eventually you finally arrived at zero?

It could be either that or a process; the important thing is that you had stopped.

No, to convey that you would have to say something like “höll på med att sluta”.