[personal profile] eub
I ran across a Metafilter thread about the expression "if you think that, you've got another (think/thing) coming." If this is a familiar stock expression to you, which version is familiar, "thing" or "think"? Have you heard the other version?
(Warning: the thread is a mashup of this think/thing with an "is 0.999repeating = 1" debate; skim over unless that's something you enjoy.)

My dad and I agreed that it's a familiar expression, and we'd never heard anyone using the wrong word in it, that would sound bizarre, why is there even a thread about this. But it turned out we disagreed on which word is the right one. The usage in the wild is definitely mixed (it skews "thing" in Google web search, "think" in n-gram books search), and he and I apparently each inferred one correct usage, and assimilated the other one to it, without even noticing the mixedness. Yay language.

(Historically, the "think" version appears to have come first as a stock phrase, carrying a "comically unusual grammar" flavor. The "thing" probably came from rationalizing it, and a small phonetic step given that the doubled /k/ sound in "think coming" is commonly reduced. (The OED2 has an earlier cite for "thing", but since its publication they have pushed "think" earlier.))

Date: 2011-08-28 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caladri.livejournal.com
Let's debate the relative merits of different putative English plurals of "octopus"!

I only recall hearing "thing", but suspect that after saying this I will encounter dozens of cases in which "think" is used in things (thinks? — I don't know which is which anymore!) that I've read a bajillion times without noticing.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eub.livejournal.com
I'll be interested to hear if "think" starts showing up for you now.

Date: 2011-08-28 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomdreams.livejournal.com
'think', definitely. It's not clear to me what 'thing' would mean.

Date: 2011-08-28 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com
"Think"! The other one drives me up the wall!

Rationalizing how? Because "think" isn't normally a noun?

(I need another sentence pair. It's so I can use preiods to terminate both.)

Date: 2011-08-28 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com
It's obviously 'thing', you're just hearing the 'g c' as a 'k'.

JUST LIKE YOU DON'T HEAR THE CAPYBARA'S WINGS.

Date: 2011-08-28 07:56 pm (UTC)
katybeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] katybeth
Or rather, we don't enunciate the double 'k' sound, so it sounds like a single 'k'. :-)

Date: 2011-08-28 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com
You have met me, yes? Why would you assume my knowledge of the phrase comes from hearing it spoken?

Date: 2011-08-28 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com
When you've read it has it always been the one way?

I think I would substitute it in my head for the one I thought was right/liked better and just assume the author/editor had made a mistake of some kind.

Date: 2011-08-28 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com
In actual books it was always "think" until like five years ago.

Date: 2011-08-28 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com
There was a pop/rock/metal song (I mean, clearly not the last word on this stuff) from when I was a kid with the chorus being 'You've got another thing coming'.

That was pretty much my major exposure to this phrase/debate until today, which may have been where I got my fixed ideas about 'thing' as correct and right and good.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pielology.livejournal.com
It's been used both ways in newspapers for nearly a century (cf. 1919 cite from http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004971.html), though perhaps not equally. But "think" outnumbers "thing" in pre-1960 Google Books by a couple orders of magnitude.

Huh.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eub.livejournal.com
That's what I think I must have been doing, since there are enough cites of "thing" from the kinds of thing I'd have read that I must have run into it without noticing that anybody didn't use "think". That's what I find cool about this, was not *actually* aiming to have people appalled at each other's wrongness.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eub.livejournal.com
Yes, discomfort with "think" as a noun: several of the MF comments are claiming "another think" is 'ungrammatical'.

I can't say confidently that I've ever heard "think" as noun outside this phrase and probably "have a smoke and a long think" which is a shade different in meaning: act of thinking rather than content of thought.

Date: 2011-08-28 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beaq.livejournal.com
"Think", and "thing" bothers me because it doesn't make any sense.

Date: 2011-08-28 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
Never heard 'thing' till this. Strikes me as crazy illiterate, missing the point. Point is, "If you think X, you're wrong, so think again."

Date: 2011-08-28 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ehk.livejournal.com
I've only heard the "think" version.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eub.livejournal.com
OK so you and [livejournal.com profile] jinian are bothered hearers of both. Do you know if you've always heard the wrong one or if it showed up suddenly?

Date: 2011-08-29 08:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beaq.livejournal.com
Actually, I'm not sure I'd notice if I *heard* it, not being certain of what I'd heard. I have definitely read it, and talked with people about it. It doesn't seem like a recent invention in my world. 10-20 years I've been noticing? Internet time.

Date: 2011-08-28 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com
My dad and I agreed that it's a familiar expression, and we'd never heard anyone using the wrong word in it, that would sound bizarre, why is there even a thread about this. But it turned out we disagreed on which word is the right one.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Just think/g, soon enough you'll get to have this debate with your OWN children :)

Date: 2011-08-28 07:06 pm (UTC)
cellio: (avatar-face)
From: [personal profile] cellio
Thing? Who knew? It's always been think to me.

Date: 2011-08-29 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zzyzx-xyzzy.livejournal.com
As far as which of two variants of a somewhat nonsensical idiom is "correct"... I could care less

Date: 2011-08-29 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zzyzx-xyzzy.livejournal.com
that should have been a top level comment. I'm always making that misclick.

Date: 2011-08-29 01:20 am (UTC)
cellio: (avatar-face)
From: [personal profile] cellio
Ah, I was wondering what I had said to prompt that. :-)

Date: 2011-08-29 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rehana.livejournal.com
Think is more familiar, and I've heard both, and they both bothered me because they didn't make sense.

Date: 2011-08-29 06:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eub.livejournal.com
If neither makes much sense, maybe that's what allows you to be a hearer-of-both-versions.

Date: 2011-08-29 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hattifattener
I've always heard (well, seen) "think", have only seen "thing" in casual internet usage and I consider "thing" to be wrongity wrong and nonsensical. The One True Idiom ("think") makes perfect sense— using "think" as a noun here is the kind of minor wordplay that, istm, is common in this kind of phrase— but the False Heretical Corruption ("thing") makes no sense. Why would you say "another thing" without a previous thing as a referent? Why would an 8-foot-tall Wookiee live on a planet of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? This does not make sense! You must acquit.

Date: 2011-08-29 01:04 pm (UTC)
blk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blk
Think. I don't know that I've ever heard the other, or if I have, I likely dismissed it automatically as being someone's ignorant confusion.
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