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Thread: You've got another 'thing' / 'think' coming?

  1. #81
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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by fenixpollo View Post
    ... this expression ... which is used throughout the Western U.S. and by everyone I know ...
    Not throughout the western U.S. Some parts of it perhaps. I grew up being threatened with "another think coming" in response to opinions and conclusions my parents considered unacceptable, rather than to anything I was doing.

    I've heard "another thing coming," and have taken it as someone having misheard the original and adopted the saying as a set phrase, having a meaning ("you'd better reconsider") when taken as a whole, despite not making a lot of sense if considered literally. Another thing coming? What thing has already come? It reminds me of the old joke, "'Would ya like some molasses?' 'How kin I have some mo' 'lasses when I ain't had no 'lasses at all?'" (To explain this to non-native speakers -- the joke is in the southern AE accent. More is said without the R, and the first syllable in molasses is a long O. Thus molasses and more lasses sound the same. Ya and kin are phonetic spellings of the southern pronunciation of you and can.)

    But that's the way language evolves. If thing makes sense to the people who use it, that's all that's required.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brioche View Post
    "think" phonetically is /thingk/, if followed by come, you need two /k/ sounds /thingk-kumming/.
    If you don't clearly enunciate, it becomes /thingkumming/ and thus thing coming.

    Sorry, but my poor little Aussie brain can't see any sense in thing in the main clause and think in the subordinate clause.
    I made the point earlier in this thread that both "If you think X, you've got another think coming" and "If you think X, you've got another thing coming" are both idioms which have the same meaning, namely, "if you think X, you're wrong."

    Because of the recent revival of the thread, I started to look at various dictionaries online to see if they treated these expressions as idioms as well. I found several examples where the "think" version was given as a subentry, but unfortunately, those dictionaries did not explicitly use the usage label "idiom," so I can't say for certain that the editors intended those subentries to represent idioms.

    However, I did find both the "think" and "thing" versions identified as idioms--or rather, as two versions of the very same idiom--in the following entry from the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms:

    "If sb thinks sth, they've got another thing/think coming! informal

    "something that you say when you are angry with someone because they are expecting you to do something for them that you do not want to do"

    The example sentence uses the "think" version. The meaning discussed is not precisely the same meaning that I had in mind ("You're wrong"), but I agree that the idiom can have the meaning identified by the dictionary and I agree that all versions of the idiom belong to the informal register.

    The important thing is that (1) the "think" version is identified as an idiom--that is, its meaning cannot be derived through an analysis of its component parts--and (2) the "thing" version is interchangeable with the "think" version. (Presumably, the editors listed "thing" before "think" because they used alphabetical order in listing variants.)

    In other words, that dictionary entry backs up what some of us who do not consider the "thing" version to be an error have been saying.
    Last edited by mplsray; 12th January 2008 at 11:22 AM.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    When faced with a serious grammatical question, I run down to the pool hall where the "laughing stock rule" applies to American speech. Just at the time Nuts Nelson is shooting the last ball on the table, the 8-ball to win, I say, "Make it Nuts or you'll have another think coming." Everyone standing around the table chalking up their cues begins laughing, Nuts scratches on the eight ball. "I'm sorry, Nuts. I meant to say, 'you'll have another thing coming.' "

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lexiphile View Post
    'Twas the expression, not the word, that is acceptable. Browsing quickly backwards, I stumble first upon post #75, wherein the expression is explained. The "thing," judging by the general tone of its supporters' posts, is some nebulous "boogey man" -- anything that can be threatened -- but since it is quite clearly NOT explicit in the expression, you won't find a "definition" for it. Unlike "think," which is explicit.
    But this doesn't explain how it comes to be "another" thing.

    The important thing is that (1) the "think" version is identified as an idiom--that is, its meaning cannot be derived through an analysis of its component parts
    This is one definition of idiom. Another is simply "a form of expression natural to a language, person or group". I would argue that one can quite easily derive the meaning of this expression through analysis - as long as you use "think". If you use "thing" then a simple analysis doesn't suffice.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by liliput View Post
    But this doesn't explain how it comes to be "another" thing.
    It's true the "thing coming" version of the expression doesn't explain what the first "thing" was. I think it leaves it up to the imagination of the person who has something coming to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by fenixpollo, in post 23 View Post
    "You've Got Another Thing Coming": The lyrics don't suggest what the thing is. One could only imagine what "the Metal Gods" might have in store as a punishment for someone who disagreed with them enough to make them angry. This is the idea behind the expression, which suggests that the thing in question is retribution for having wronged the speaker.

    If the person talking is a mother, then the thing that is coming may be a scolding or a spanking. The thing could also be a piece of someone's mind or a good talking to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rana_pipiens View Post
    Not throughout the western U.S. Some parts of it perhaps. I grew up being threatened with "another think coming" in response to opinions and conclusions my parents considered unacceptable, rather than to anything I was doing.
    "Throughout", to me, implies that it is used all over the geographic region. It does not imply that it is used exclusively by everyone in the region. I have friends and acquaintances from the four corners of the West, and all of them subscribe to the "thing" school. However, due to the large number of immigrants in the West from other parts of the country and from other countries, I would expect that the "think" version would be used, too.
    Ignorance --> fear --> anger --> hate --> violence. || Knowledge => tolerance => acceptance => love => peace.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    In addition to the aforementioned Cambridge definition, "annoyance at the listener's expecting the speaker to do something," the expression is also used for an intended action or inaction of the listener's, as in, "If you think you are going to go to school wearing that outfit ...."

    Quote Originally Posted by fenixpollo View Post
    ... due to the large number of immigrants in the West from other parts of the country and from other countries, I would expect that the "think" version would be used, too.
    On the one hand, the family, neighbors etc. that I learned think from were descendents of early settlers of the West, not recent immigrants. On the other hand, doing a quick tabulation from this thread of thing/think adherents by country (where given), and, lumping the Commonwealth countries and India together as BE (being more closely related to BE than AE), thing is 12 AE:7 BE; think is 6 AE:15 BE. Linguists have observed there is a pocket in the Utah/Idaho area of grammar and idioms that evolved in BE after the split from AE, due to English immigration during the mid-1800s. Thus the Intermountain West dialect might use think due to 150-year-old BE influence.

    The OED's first print citations are earlier for thing (1919) than for think (1937); however, idioms are often in widespread verbal use long before ever appearing in print. I suspect the think version was the original, regularized into thing since think is not usually a noun.

    While personally preferring the wordplay of another think, I understand how the promise of a nebulous another thing coming would be effective -- it makes quite as much sense (which is to say, not much ) as the highly ominous, "One ... two ...." of my early childhood, which usually extorted tearful compliance by the count of "three."

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rana_pipiens View Post
    The OED's first print citations are earlier for thing (1919) than for think (1937); however, idioms are often in widespread verbal use long before ever appearing in print. I suspect the think version was the original, regularized into thing since think is not usually a noun.

    While personally preferring the wordplay of another think, I understand how the promise of a nebulous another thing coming would be effective -- it makes quite as much sense (which is to say, not much ) as the highly ominous, "One ... two ...." of my early childhood, which usually extorted tearful compliance by the count of "three."
    On Google books, the earliest incident of "another think coming" is 1873. Certainly it was in spoken language before that.

    "You think I ought to thank you for butting in and keeping me from dying without knowing anything about it, don't you? Well, you got another think coming." ... from the American Publishers Weekly - 1873

    In the same source, the earliest hits for "got another thing coming" are in the 1960s, later than the OED citations.

    It's on the basis of its word play that I believe the "think coming" version was first. It seems to me that sayings of this sort are built around and even motivated by catchy word play and rhymes.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by liliput View Post
    But this doesn't explain how it comes to be "another" thing.



    This is one definition of idiom. Another is simply "a form of expression natural to a language, person or group". I would argue that one can quite easily derive the meaning of this expression through analysis - as long as you use "think". If you use "thing" then a simple analysis doesn't suffice.
    I finally had an opportunity to browse through the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. I thought you might have in mind the sort of idiom in which in French one must say "Je suis né à Paris" (literally, "I am born in Paris") while in English one must say "I was born in Paris." Another example is "Je me lave les mains" (literally, "I me wash the hands") while in English one says "I wash my hands." So I wanted to check if the Cambridge idiom dictionary entry included the latter type of idiom, which I would expect to find treated as part of the basic grammar rather than in collections of idioms of the sort I had in mind.

    I am now satisfied that the Cambridge idiom dictionary covers only the unanalyzable type of idiom (with the possible exception of its entries for metaphors and similes). It subsequently occurred to me, reading the mention of "person" in your definition of idiom, that this was a very much weaker sense of the word which is, really, not relevant to the discussion because it covers both analyzable and unanalyzable forms--whatever the person, or group, says that another person or group would tend not to say.

    One thing the Cambridge dictionary reminded me was that idioms appear in specific places and for a particular use. The example given was "to look daggers at someone" compared with "to look angrily at someone." Some posters in this thread have tried to tweeze a difference in meaning out of both variants of the "thing/think" idiom, but this is a pointless exercise because they are both used in exactly the same way to serve exactly the same function.

    I did find out something else interesting about the "thing/think" idiom: The Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms will give a variant using a slash (as in "thing/think") only if both variants are common to all branches of English; otherwise it gives a separate entry for each idiom. As a result, we know that the editors of the idiom dictionary consider both variants to be used throughout the English-speaking world.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    I'm speaking here on a historical basis, not as an argument on the rightness or wrongness of either option. My mother, who was born in 1915, used the expression as "You have another thing coming" when I was a boy. She derived many colorful expressions from her Iowa-born father and her mother, whose ancestors came from Appalachia. That probably takes the origins of this version of the term back into the 19th century, as Grandpa was born in 1880 and Grandma in 1883.

    My reaction to the "another think" version, which I may have first heard early on, was that it was a clever play on the "thing" version -- perhaps something that Popeye might say. (Perhaps it was.) But I remember using it for comic effect as a variation of "thing."

    Brian Nelson

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    My father was born in 1915 and my mother in 1918. They both said, "...another think coming." My father's family was from England, my mother's from West Virginia. I don't think anyone's personal experience will validate a prior claim to the history of the phrase.
    Last edited by JamesM; 2nd May 2008 at 2:08 AM.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    My first reaction upon reading this thread was: "Of course it's thing -- that's what my mother always said." Then I remembered that my mother is famous for malaprops. (My favorite: "I've been working like a dervish all day.")

    Still, the use of "think" as a noun grates on me. I don't think I've ever heard it used as a noun before. It's certainly not common in the U.S. Is it common elsewhere in the English speaking world (apart from the saying at issue here)?

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by anothersmith View Post
    My first reaction upon reading this thread was: "Of course it's thing -- that's what my mother always said." Then I remembered that my mother is famous for malaprops. (My favorite: "I've been working like a dervish all day.")

    Still, the use of "think" as a noun grates on me. I don't think I've ever heard it used as a noun before. It's certainly not common in the U.S. Is it common elsewhere in the English speaking world (apart from the saying at issue here)?
    As burdensome as it is, anothersmith, it's worth reading the entire thread to see that both versions appear to be common throughout the English-speaking world, and both camps are fairly certain that the other is wrong.

    As for "think" being a noun, it's a colloquialism, as in: "I'm going to sit myself down and have a good think about this."

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    As burdensome as it is, anothersmith, it's worth reading the entire thread to see that both versions appear to be common throughout the English-speaking world, and both camps are fairly certain that the other is wrong.
    I have read the entire thread, James. That's why I included the parenthetical "(apart from the saying at issue here)."

    What I'm wondering is whether people in other countries say, for example, "I'm going to have to have a think about that." I was surprised to hear that "think" appears in the dictionary as a noun.

    Edit: If you want me to start a separate thread about this, please let me know.
    Last edited by anothersmith; 2nd May 2008 at 2:46 AM. Reason: afterthought

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by anothersmith View Post

    What I'm wondering is whether people in other countries say, for example, "I'm going to have to have a think about that." I was surprised to hear that "think" appears in the dictionary as a noun.
    Many people in the UK also use 'think' as a noun (as noted by Aupick in post # 32). The phrase 'I'll have a think' is (in my experience) common, but I've also heard it used with the same faintly admonishing tone of 'you've got another think coming', as in:

    'Your father worked all week to pay for that window you've just broken. You might want to have a think about that next time you play football in the house'

    It's also used in the specific phrase 'another think' - as in 'Have another think' instead of 'Think again'. I've even heard this on quiz shows, so it must be fairly widely understood

    However, I don't think I've ever come across any of these phrases in a formal setting - they're purely colloquialisms.
    Last edited by LouisaB; 2nd May 2008 at 3:03 AM.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by liliput View Post
    Out of interest, which explanation of the meaning of "thing" in this expression did you find perfectly acceptable? Perhaps I missed one.
    It was the one that said,
    You think one thing, but you're going to have to think another thing. To me, it sounds less awkward than using think as a noun. (Yes, yes, I know it CAN be a noun. I just think it sounds silly. But maybe I have another think/thing coming.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Both are usually accepted as correct, although I'm almost certain "you've got another think coming" is the original.

    "The phrase "You've got another thing coming" is an eggcorn of "You've got another think coming"."
    That's straight from wikipedia.org, and wiktionary.org categorizes "you've got another thing coming" as an alternative form of "you've got another think coming", and also mentions that 'thing' is what is mainly used in the U.S.

    So, I'm pretty sure this all just boils down to preference/what you grew up with.

    Personally I use "you've got another thing coming."

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    RB says "usually accepted." By who?

    RB further cites Wiktionary as saying "what is mainly used in the U.S." but Wictionary is hardly an authoritative source. I expect it ranks on the same level as these boards.

    It is "think."

    The idiosyncratic substitution of "thing" for "think" just because "thing" sounds, to the speaker's ear, like "think," introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context.

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by David_Porta View Post
    RB says "usually accepted." By who?

    RB further cites Wiktionary as saying "what is mainly used in the U.S." but Wictionary is hardly an authoritative source. I expect it ranks on the same level as these boards.

    It is "think."

    The idiosyncratic substitution of "thing" for "think" just because "thing" sounds, to the speaker's ear, like "think," introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context.
    I disagree that the meaning is different.

    The Oxford English Dictionary is not a place to turn to to identify whether a usage is standard or not, since it is a historical dictionary and its editors do not see the identification of a term as being standard or not to be among its purposes (that sort of thing is dealt with in other dictionaries by the Oxford University Press). However, I do think we can count on it to accurately reflect the meaning of a word or expression, and under the entry for the noun think, in the draft revision of September 2009, the OED has a subentry for "to have another thing coming" (subentry P16.). In that subentry, "to have another thing coming" is identified as equivalent to "to have another think coming." To be precise, it introduces the relationship between the two with an equal sign <=>.

    I would note that under its entry for the verb care it similarly expressly identifies "could care less" with "couldn't care less," again, using the equal sign. There is no difference in meaning whatsoever between those two expressions, so I think we can be assured that when the OED is uses the equal sign for the thing/think variants, it is identifying them as equal in sense.

    (Note that my intention in the previous paragraph is not to start a discussion about couldn't care less versus could care less, but only to illustrate how the equal sign is used when comparing meanings in the OED. If I could have thought of another example of the equivalence of two expressions, I would have used that instead of the couldn't care less/could care less example. I would be pleased to hear of other examples from the Oxford English Dictionary which illustrate that point.)

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Having been a language teacher for nearly 30 years, I can, without ANY doubt, unequivocably, and absolutely certainly assure you that the correct term is "you've got another THINK coming, " not "thing!". The "thing" version makes absolutely no sense grammatically. In fact, I will even be bold enough to say that anyone who argues for the "thing" version being correct is, simply put, rather ignorant !

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    Re: You've got another thing coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by prof2 View Post
    Having been a language teacher for nearly 30 years, I can, without ANY doubt, unequivocably, and absolutely certainly assure you that the correct term is "you've got another THINK coming, " not "thing!". The "thing" version makes absolutely no sense grammatically. In fact, I will even be bold enough to say that anyone who argues for the "thing" version being correct is, simply put, rather ignorant !
    This sort of boldness is not something to be proud of.

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