Usage Wars: "Another thing coming" or "Another think coming"?

Do you write You’ve got another thing coming or You’ve got another think coming?

I use think, myself, as I see the phrase as a play on Think twice, but I’d like to see what things others think.

While we’re hanging out, here’s some Judas Priest.

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Another think coming is the older of the two, dating in use to the mid-19th century, and originated in British English. Another thing coming appears to have come about in American English several decades later, probably as a result of confusion regarding the original phrase. Another thing is the more recent turn of phrase and now is more common, though it is frequently criticized.

(Personally, I use thing. I’ll be honest, I always thought that’s what the actual phrase was. So I learned something today.)

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I’m not convinced that Rob Halford wasn’t making sly reference to the varying usage when they named the song. Consider the line: “Listen, I ain’t foolin’, and you’d better think again”.

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I can’t say that I use that phrase all that often in my writing, but I think I use “thing”…probably because of that song, actually. XD

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This is one of those usage things I honestly forget exists. The ‘wrong’ usage has been so ingrained in everyone since I was born that I don’t think most people realize what they’re actually saying. I’m going to try and watch out for it in my own writing.

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English is my second language so I learned it as “thing”. This is the first time I ever came across there being another version. I suppose I could see the reasoning for both though, but since I’ve never come across “think” before it might mean that the alternate version is very much ingrained at this point.

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So the American/British divide in usage does seem pretty real.

I’m from America, and, like I said earlier, I’ve always known the phrase to be another thing coming. So I decided to tell my mom (who is from England) this ‘fun fact’ about the original usage.

Me: So, you know the phrase ‘you’ve got another thing coming’?
Mom: You mean ‘think’?

I asked my dad (also British) as well; he also said it’s ‘think’.

(Now they’re both ranting about Americans saying ‘I could care less’.)

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Well to be fully honest people in America more or less speak American not English, lol. America is the melting pot and many phrases, and words have been brought into our language as more cultures came into our country. So in my opinion I don’t really speak “English” per say. I speak “American” because a lot of things I say in American English don’t really make sense, or they aren’t even in, the British form of English.

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I’m in the same boat. I think I always thought about it in a sense that “(because of something, you think this way, but) some other thing/circumstance will come/happen to you (and that will change your mind)”.

Though when I think about it, the version with “think” makes an awful lot of sense with a lot less ellipses. So while I thought that “thing” was correct up until now, I think I have another think coming.

I should be banned from using the word “think” now.

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I’m a strong “think” preferrer myself (despite being American), but I’m not pedantic about these sorts of usages.

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I’m so bewildered by the phrase “another think coming.” Think is a verb. It doesn’t come (or do anything else), because it’s not a noun. People think, but a think doesn’t come to people. Things are nouns and can come and go.

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Think is a verb and a noun. It’s also an adjective.

I’ve never heard think used as a noun. Only thought.

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Zero-deriving nouns from verbs is a pretty common practice in English (and the other way around, for that matter), and it often gives a humorous effect when it’s a word we don’t normally use as a noun. That’s pretty much how I interpret “think” in that variant of the phrase.

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Actually…

Hence why the Brits came up with the phrase and Americans fudged it. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I agree. You’ve got another think coming is slightly different and more comical than Sit down and have a think about what you just said.

The words that are derived from the same original root as think all have similar fluidity between classes–the verbs think and thank and the noun thought, for instance.

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This is actually the first time I encounter this meaning of “think”. I’ve learned it as only a verb (and that the noun is thought). I’d thought (ha!) that “another think coming” was a typo. “another thing coming” like “another issue coming”.

But you never ever can say you master your mother tongue, even less one learned at school (and I’ve never lived in an English-speaking country for any length).

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Heh, I was born and bred in Idaho (about as far from speaking the Queen’s English as possible) and using “thing” in the phrase is one of my pet peeves.

For my usage, the full phrase is "If you think x, you’ve got another think coming. However most often the preferatory phrase is omitted, hence the confusion between think and thing.

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this is such a pet peeve of mine haha

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I don’t use either. I’ll generally just say “think again” or the like, since the idiom doesn’t make much sense to me and sounds clunky either way.

Not, mind you, that half the pop culture meme “idioms” I’ve been known to use make sense out of context, either. But that’s exactly the thing, maybe something was a clever turn of phrase that was actually in reference to something originally that has since been forgotten but now it’s just orphaned from the origin that would have made it make sense.

Five hundred years from now, people will be analyzing the mangled descendants of today’s memes.

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