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Because Arguing on Fanficrants Is a Waste of Time - a Poll
Over on fanficrants an argument is raging over the use of the phrase, "another think coming," as in "If he thought that, he had another think coming." Apparently, a large number of people have always believed and used "another thing coming" even if the first part of the phrase is retained.

So, a poll:

Poll #1659622 Think or thing

Is the phrase "another think coming" or "another thing coming"

Never heard of it
Who cares?
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And don't get me started on 'All mouth and no trousers'!

Grey tokes from Lidl eggcorns go....

"He was so annoying with his use of the wrong words that his friends clubbed together - and hit him with it."

Yes, I'm afraid so.

However, the demographic on fanficrants is much younger and more American based than on this LJ. I really ought to just go to watching (there are some wonderful train-crashes) just to stop myself being tempted to add my twopenneth.

Never heard of the phrase. So at least I learnt something(k). :P

It's very colloquial and no longer widely used. I can't remember where I heard or read it first, but I am pretty sure it originated in the States, and I've seen/heard it used most in hard-boiled detective.

It really has spawned the most amazing argument, hasn't it?

Some people are getting ridiculously upset about it. It's basically a mishearing that has found its way into print, like "could of" -- but when I pointed this out, I got 500 word rants on how the two could not be equated!

or at least so goes the Judas Priest song - I don't think I've heard anyone actually say it.

Is that in the printed lyrics? Because the whole problem stems from an original mishearing.

Eh? Why would anyone say "think" there?

How can you possibly have another think coming, might I axe? :P

I hardly think it originates in the states. It seems pretty English doesn't it? I can easily imagine teachers saying "if you do that boy, you've got another thing coming". The "thing" being a punishment of some sort. The "think"? I'm not sure what that could be...

He has a thought, but when circumstances change, so will the thought. That's the origin, and the 'think' version is recorded as older, as even those arguing for 'thing' admit.

You can also, colloquially, "Sit and have a think." (Yes, it's in the dictionary.) Then there is, "Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits."

in the 'don't get me started': free reign. Because reins are a dead metaphor.

God, that reign/rein makes me so cross. I had an editor try to correct my phrase 'he reined in his temper' to 'reigned in'. I explained to her that reign is what monarch do and reins are controlling/steering tools used by a horse-rider, and hence, by a lateral step, by someone controlling their temper. That was one editorial requirement I refused to accept.

HAs to be think. And surely it's English. I'm in my country estates and can't dig out my dictionary of slang.

I'll pop downstairs and have a look in Partridge.

I really don't get why there are people asking "what's the thing?"

It's like they've never heard of the phrase "and another thing..."

Because in the phrase "another thing" a separate thing has already been mentioned. In the phrase "If he thought that, he has another thing coming," (which is also ungrammatical) the two phrases are totally unconnected. There is no first thing.

It may well be a US expression. I've heard it a lot. It's deliberately ungrammatical for humorous effect.

And while I can stand people believing otherwise because it is what they have always used, holding onto that belief in the face of clear evidence to the contrary and indeed basic common sense is how Sarah Palin ended up a Vice Presidential candidate.

I refuse to get embroiled in fanficrants any more than I have to, but it sounds even here as though you've put the cat among the pigeons. Why yes, I *am* pulling another Olde Englishe colloquialism out of the hat there. ;-D

I am, of course, very firmly in the 'think' camp.

The person I feel sorry for is the OP, who really does not deserve the flack she's getting, as she was right.

It strikes me as being US southern. It has the same colloquial feel. My grandmother used to employ it in the full form -- "And if you think that, young lady, you have another think coming." The idea was to rethink the initial think ... uh, thought.

But never let facts get in the way of a good fandom bar fight.

But never let facts get in the way of a good fandom bar fight.


I am annoyed that I can't, for the moment, find the originating location. *grumbles*

Bonkers, totally bonkers. Hence why I avoid that comm like the plague.

Occasionally, you learn things. Mostly, though, to keep out of the cat-fights.

And metafandom is far, far worse.

Edited at 2010-12-22 12:57 pm (UTC)

There may (or may not) be a US phrase "another think coming", but there certainly is a British phrase "another thing coming".

Vague evidence: Google has far more hits for "thing".

Yet 'another thing coming' does not make the OED. It is simply a mishearing, as it does not really make sense, in view of the first part of the phrase.

There was a discussion on this very subject not too long ago on the Copyediting List (CE-L). It's pretty clear that from a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, point of view, we're getting a divergence into two different usages, though "another think coming" is obviously the original (and still more common) version.

I used to be a straight prescriptivist, but have relaxed as somewhat I've aged, and seen English evolving (and pursuing other languages down alleyways) just in my own time.

Think, definitely. Likewise - 'I'll have to have a think about that' is common enough still, surely? Even my Concise OED (i.e. one small desk-sized volume) has think listed as an informal noun defined as 'an act of thinking'.

It's something I find exceedingly frustrating, but see quite a lot in fanfic, where two words sound similar to the ear (if not clearly enunciated) and the writer appears to pick the more familiar form. E.g. shudder for shutter, as in eyes, and hurdle for hurtle as in travelling at speed. Not that hurdling isn't done at speed, but it's not quite the same thing. :(

But, of course, clear enunciation is seen as some kind of evil imposition of class, and apparently regional accents and dialects trump clarity when it comes to current social values. /rant, /sarcasm ;)

Regardless of whether it's the original and more correct version of the phrase (and it appears that it is), the use of "think" as a noun in the context still feels rather bizarre.

"I'll need to have think about that", is not much different from "I'm going for a run". In neither case does the word become a noun. Saying "you've got a run coming" makes as little sense normally as "you've got another think coming", but phrases don't always make complete sense anyway.

There's another phrase: "you'll be laughing on the other side of your face". Completely barmy when taken literally, but a genuine and acceptable phrase all the same.

Whether "you've got another thing coming" is based on an initial mishearing doesn't change the fact that is now in wide use. As Wittgenstein revealed, the meaning is in the useage. Etymology doesn't trump that.

clear enunciation is seen as some kind of evil imposition of class... regional accents and dialects trump clarity when it comes to current social values

Um... wot? ;)

I'm not sure as to which "social value" thingy you are referring there.

""I'll need to have think about that", is not much different from "I'm going for a run". In neither case does the word become a noun.

We're going to disagree on this. I'm no language expert so I tend to refer to dictionaries, thesauruses etc. The smallest dictionary that Oxford produce is the pocket-sized 'Little' edition which includes the noun definition of run as an act or spell of running, which matches the definition of 'think' as a noun in the slightly larger edition. Run as a noun is extremely common usage in UK schools where, when the games staff haven't organised anything else, they just send everyone on a cross-country run. ;)

I'm a thinging person. But I realise that it should be think. Also, the two phrases are pronounced the same in my dialect (I think).

I think the whole problem comes down to the fact that in many accents and dialects the two words do sound the same, and people make assumptions.

We use it in our, very British working class, family, for at least a couple of generations (Mum is in her 80's, gran used it use it too).


My family are also very working class, though mother being German did change things a bit for us. I can't remember either of my parents using either version - but I was also mixing with people from other classes and backgrounds, and watching a lot of TV!

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