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What Do You Thing?

September 3, 2012

So I’m in the car driving home from the #boonybin–I mean, I’m not driving since then I obviously couldn’t be typing this–but I look over and the song on the radio is “You’ve got Another Thing Coming.”

So I say to my husband, “I hate when people put that in manuscripts” (or really say that in general).

He just sort of looks at me.

I look back.

“It’s ‘You’ve got another think coming,'” I say. “And I hate when people say thing. That makes no sense. It follows something like: If you think that, you’ve got another think coming…”

So he says, “I always thought it was thing. Like if you thought you were getting a dog, but your parents are getting you a cat, you’ve got another thing coming.

“Or if you’re having a multi-course meal, and you’re full and think you can’t eat anymore, but too bad, you’ve got another thing coming.”

Now I’m the one just looking.

Are you serious???

But he was. He was totally serious.

So I went to google, the great arbiter of our times.

And holy WTFery. There’s indecision on the web about this expression. But you agree with me, right?? I mean, I’M RIGHT, RIGHT?!?!

Let me tell you right now, if you think I’m going to take this lying down, you’ve got another think coming.

Thing is not a replacement word for think. Tell me you agree in the comments. Tell me you disagree, if you dare. Let’s let this be the final word.

What do you thing?

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66 Comments
  1. I’m with husband on this one. I’ve always said, “thing.”

  2. I’ve always said thing, too! Haha.

  3. I’ve never even heard of “think”… I’m a “thing” girl, sorry.

  4. Really???? This is CRAZY!!!!

  5. Thing here too, as in, “If you think you’re going to receive [desirable THING], buster, you’ve got another thing coming [i.e., not the desirable THING].”

  6. Sorry … it’s “thing.” Your conversation with hubby? Too funny, and I’d love to agree with you if I could.

  7. Count me in with the others – I’ve always thought it was “thing,” too.

  8. I saw this question come up on another blog a few days ago. I’d never heard of ‘thing’ in that expression until then. It’s always been THINK around here!!

    Although I just asked my kids and they both said ‘thing’ ARGH!!!!

  9. THINK! It’s think. πŸ™‚

  10. I always said “thing”, but I have to say that I like “think”–this is the first time I ever heard “think”, and I think I will use it that way from now on! So my vote goes to Michelle! πŸ™‚

  11. I’ve always said ‘thing’. But then again, I’ve always said ”buck naked” and my aunt corrected (?) me. Apparently it’s ”butt naked”?

    • I’ve always said “buck naked”, too. My husband is on the other side on that one.

  12. Okay, I had to come over and play…your tweets had me intrigued… Sorry but I’m a “thing” girl too. But I’m in the South. We screw up everything. So I don’t know if it’s right or just what we say. LOL.

  13. LOL. You and Meg Cabot are twins in this. I read a few of her books where she used the phrase “You’ve got another think coming” and I thought it was a typo the first time. Then, she went ahead and explained it in one book–that the correct word was THINK…which was weird in her character’s voice but it made me laugh because it was clearly an aggravated author intrusion.

    Normally, I always side with Meg Cabot, but common usage is “thing” and I always thought it was a threat. Oh yeah? You think that??? *balls up fist* Well, just you wait because you’ve got another thing coming!!! Even when it wasn’t used in anger, I thought that was where it had originated…like a holdover from the Honeymooners or something–something that wouldn’t be politically correct today but then again I can’t find another word that accurately describes a wife-beater shirt so go figure…

  14. I’m in the “thing” column. I’ve never heard of “think” as an option, but when I think about it, “think” isn’t a noun. Thing is a noun. You may have another thought coming, but that thing you don’t expect (or don’t want) is gonna getcha. πŸ˜‰ Sorry!

  15. I’ve always used “think.”

  16. First, I can’t stop laughing because my husband and I have had so many conversations like this. We’re equal opportunity misconstruers. So we’re about 50/50 on being right. Sorry to break it to you (and slightly afraid), but I’m TOTALLY with the the hubs on this one.

  17. Anonymous permalink

    I’m not sure, but if you agree to rep my manuscript, I’ll go along with anything you say!!!! πŸ™‚

  18. The above comment is from Kelly B. Darmofal (author of Lost in My Mind: a Story of Traumatic Brain Injury)

  19. It’s ‘thing’. Regardless of what people ‘think’, I have a book about the development of commonly used phrases in language and it is most definitely ‘thing’.

  20. ‘Thing’ for me too. But this is from the girl who says ‘button up’. Also, in response to your tweet: It’s totally ‘beckon call’. Like ‘I’m not at your beckon call.’ Like ‘stop beckoning me to do your bidding.’ What does ‘beck and call’ even mean??

  21. You are right, as usual, oh great one. It’s always been “think” around here. And, for the record, that’s what Ciel says in QUICK FIX, too,

  22. This is the first time I’ve ever heard “think’ in this phrase. It sound very Dr. Suessian to me. After all, it’s not really another thought you’ve got coming, but whatever thing is not what you were expecting. (Butt and buck naked could go either way, though.)

  23. laurakcurtis permalink

    No. Freaking. Way. Of COURSE it’s think! Thing makes no sense whatsoever.

  24. For what it’s worth, I used to work with a bunch of Brits. One of their favorite phrases was “Let’s have a nice long think about this.” I’d never heard ‘think’ used as a noun before but my colleagues assured me it was quite common, especially in the way you’re using it here.

  25. laurakcurtis permalink

    And to those who say “think” isn’t a noun, well, that’s the POINT. It’s a colloquialism, it doesn’t have to be correct. This drives me as crazy as “I could care less.”

  26. A Google phrase search on “another thing coming” vs. “another think coming” results in 3,150,000 results vs. 106,000 (respectively). Though I believe that has more to do with the Judas Priest song than anything else πŸ˜‰

  27. Here’s the blog post I read about it a few days ago: http://www.stephanie-thornton.com/2012/08/youve-got-another-think-coming.html

    I think both are probably correct, given it’s a colloquialism and such. Adaptability of the language and all that.

  28. Anonymous permalink

    Think. Definitely think. Because it’s traditionally used in the context of “Yeah? That’s what you think? Well, you’ve got another think coming!” I can understand why it would sound like thing, but seeing it written out like that would look entirely incorrect to me…

  29. Anonymous permalink

    The wiki page for that song seems to suggest that the original usage was ‘think’, although maybe it’s changed because of the unclear pronunciation…I vote think, though.

  30. Anonymous permalink

    I’ve never heard “think” in this phrase until this post. I don’t think it’s a matter of people mistaking thing and think for synonyms…I think it’s just a very strange way to use “think” in a phrase. I’ve never heard people say “I had a think” or “I’m going to have a think and get back to you” etc., so I wouldn’t expect “You’ve got another think coming” to be a real usage. If I had a character say it, I’d put “thing”. (But if I ever query you, I’ll change out the phrase for something else entirely. ;])

  31. It’s definitely THINK. I’ve never even heard it said as *thing.* How does that even make sense?

    … though now I’m totally picturing Seuss’s Thing 1 and Thing 2…

  32. THING!!!!! But I am the queen of spelling and grammar crimes ROTFL!!! I also say buck naked and is it true that in the Michael Jackson song Wanna Be Starting Somethin’ that he’s saying… I was saved by the sound of Michael’s song… instead of mama say mama sa ma ma cusa????? I need to know????

  33. A Stevens permalink

    IT’s THINK. Just *think* about this for a moment! ‘Thing’ would make it have only its literal meaning … BUT USING ‘think’ makes Have more meaning than that – emphatic – like a WARNING! A promise of dire consequences IF/Then – OR ELSE – you get the drift! πŸ™‚

  34. Definitely ‘think’. Seeing it written as ‘thing’ is one of those things that makes me snaky. Like people who use ‘then’ instead of ‘than’….

  35. …the hell?
    Usually I just lurk around here but I had to speak up today. Of course its ‘think!’
    ‘Thing’ doesn’t make any sort of sense. *grumble*

  36. I’m going to be honest. I’ve never heard it used as “think” and it sounds extremely awkward to me that way. Not even the explanations given here are helping me understand why you’d use think. Believe me, when I give something to someone it isn’t a think, it’s a thing! My take on all this could be because no one I know says think and I’ve lived all over the country. According to these comments, though, there are some out there who’ve heard it said the other way. I’m going to remain a “thing” person, but I believe people have to go with what works for them. If “think” works for you, then by all means use it!

  37. Cannot believe people use the word ‘thing’. Is this an American thing?

  38. Think. You may be thinking one thing, but you’re wrong so you’ll have to think again – hence the ‘another think coming’.

  39. It’s “think!” And it drives me crazy, too. Almost as much as “I could care less.” Argh!!!!! You are not alone.

  40. Merccy, it’s ‘think’! In fact, I’ve never heard ‘thing’ used. Is this a regionalism? Aargh, something else to drive me nuts…

  41. It is ‘think’ as validated by the OED: http://goo.gl/c1KCr and http://goo.gl/wXnS9.

  42. It’s definitely ‘think’; I’m English and my mum said that to me ALL THE TIME. (If you think you’re going out dressed like that, you’ve got another think coming) SO I have a lot of experience with it *sigh*. I heard there was a famous song that changed the word to ‘thing’ and now a whole generation of people think that’s right πŸ™‚ I squirm uncomfortably when I see ‘thing’ because it rarely means the thing they think it does. Could I have fit more ‘things’ and ‘thinks’ into one paragraph? Probably not.

  43. Put me in the ‘think’ column. Always drives me nuts when I hear ‘thing’. About as crazy as when I hear people say ‘sangwich’. Seriously, I know about 3 people who cannot say ‘SANDWICH’!!

  44. Here’s a good argument in your favour regarding the origin of the phrase: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/another-think-coming.html

    I’m okay with either, especially in dialogue, since “thing” is so prevalent (perhaps more so at this point than “think”)!

  45. Reminds me of proof and pudding. The proof isn’t in the pudding. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. People misuse it and it’s our mission to use the correct phrases!!!! Like champing at bit rather than chomping. Or intents and purposes. Not intensive purposes. Don’t even get me started on begs the question. It’s not raises the question!!!!

  46. I grew up with “thing”, but correct is “think” (no matter how many times one over the other shows up in a Google search–a Google search is not a valid argument maker; a majority can easily be wrong). After some research (Yeah, I do research on this type of THING) the best theory I’ve found on the “think vs thing” thing explained that most people use grammar intuitively, and when confronted with “think vs think”, they cannot conceive of placing a verb in that second position. It goes against those subconscious grammar rules, so they change it to a noun, “thing.” The whole point of the idiom though is to be ungrammatical to make its point. “If you THINK x, you have another THINK coming.” But most, especially Americans, do not know this, just as they don’t know the rules for “fewer vs less” (shudder) , “eager vs anxious” (another shudder), and “just deserts”. By the way, unlike stated above, it is beck and call (beck is a word).

  47. Jennifer permalink

    IT IS THINK. THINK. THINK. JESUS CHRIST. THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY.

  48. I read your post title and thought you’d made a typo πŸ™‚

    I’m sort of with the majority (I think) when I say I’ve always said “Another thing coming” and never thought about it more than to say it. However, you do bring up a good point about the phrase implying we need to rethink something and therefore it should be think, but that still sounds odd to me.

  49. Hilarity ensues. After reading this post, I began an in-depth (*cough* Google search *cough*) study of various colloquialisms. Buck, Beckon, Think… some came before others, but as language adapts to current times, expressions change ever so slightly. Does that make either any less correct? If you’re judging based on the “seniority” or the word, yes. However, in regards to widespread acceptability, no. Each conflicting phrase has its adherents. That is my two cents or tupence.

  50. Anonymous permalink

    It’s always annoyed me when people say “thing”. I’m certain it should be “think”. As in, “If you think so-and-so, you’ve got another think coming.” It’s like when people say “would of” and “could of” and “should of” instead of “would/could/should HAVE”!

  51. Yes. It is definitely think. The one that gets me is anyways. It is anyway.

  52. I don’t think you can really mess with a good thing – Judas Priest – You Got Another Thing Coming – maybe another good thing, I think:)

  53. FALLS ON FLOOR FOAMING AT THE MOUTH… think, people, BLOODY HELL, it’s THINK!!! (says the girl who thought that Queen sang that he shot a BEAR in Bohemian Rhapsody & for years couldn’t figure out why he was in soooo much trouble)

  54. So happy to read this- now I can point others to an industry professional’s blog when they correct me. ugh.

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