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I read that そう means it is/it so and that adding the だった, means past tense so it would only make sense that そうだった would translate into it was.

I heard someone in an anime say this and the translation was you are right. I can understand how it is so can mean you are right/ you are correct, but shouldn't it be you were correct ?

Am I missing something ?

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    What came just before that そうだった ? ______ My guess: [A] says an explanation. and [B] says そうだった -- meaning. [ I see. that makes sense now. ] (what i had in mind previously was not what you just told me) ---- The past tense is used because the sentiment is -- I now see that it was so (that's how it was) all along. or So i realize now.
    – HizHa
    Aug 28, 2016 at 23:34

2 Answers 2

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そうだった -- often means

  • ( I had forgotten that )   [ it was so ].    or

  • ( I should have remembered / realized / guessed .... that )   [ it was so ].

http://shouyouki.web.fc2.com/ta.htm

なお、「だった」「かった」は、回想のほかに、「想定外の現在の状態」を示すこともある。

「お前はそんな奴だったのか」とか、「こんなことも知らなかったのか」というときの「た」は、今も続く状態を今知ったということを示しており、古文の「気づきの『けり』」と同じような機能を果たしている。

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Just to add onto the above answer:

そうだった is a very common expression and can have different meaning depending on context and inflection. English equivalents would be:

"Oh...yeah, that's right."

"Really?" -With an inflection at the end. Meaning I'm not sure if I believe you or that's kind of strange.

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