get thinking about

  • dharasty

    Senior Member
    American English
    To my ears (AE), the phrase is informal but clear, and not awkwardly unnatural.

    I think these would be a bit more common/natural:

    She might get to thinking about what she’d do differently...
    She might start
    thinking about what she’d do differently...

    I would consider all acceptable vernacular. I think I'd avoid "get thinking" or "get to thinking" in formal writing, and use "start thinking" instead.

     

    dharasty

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Unnatural" is too strong. It may be uncommon, I do not find the phrase is "unnatural". Especially in informal speech or writing. (As I already mentioned, I would advise to avoid that construction in formal writing.)

    Here is a context where I do not find it unnatural or awkward in the least:

    The manager says: "This is a tough problem; we need to get thinking on it."

    This, to my ear is perfectly clear, even if informal. The parallel structure to "get working" or "get started" -- in my opinion -- saves the phrase from potential unnaturalness.

    I will admit that my opinion (as represented in many of my replies here) is weighted more heavily by "clarity" than by being "technically correct" just for the sake of it. After all, it is not hard to find ungrammatical sentences that are clear, and perfectly grammatical ones that are not.

    If you ask: is the original sentence good? I would reply: because it is clear, it is good enough.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    ...

    The manager says: "This is a tough problem; we need to get thinking on it."

    This, to my ear is perfectly clear, even if informal. The parallel structure to "get working" or "get started" -- in my opinion -- saves the phrase from potential unnaturalness.
    ...
    "Get thinking" sounds odd to me.
    It seems this phrase rings differently to native speakers.
     

    dharasty

    Senior Member
    American English
    It seems this phrase rings differently to native speakers.
    Yes, that will happen sometimes.

    Even in the U.S., there are regional differences, plus we may have different upbringings, and/or work in different fields with their respective acceptable jargon.
     
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