Think it over / think over it

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sunyaer

Senior Member
Chinese
This is a sentence I made up myself.

"I am looking around to find a house to rent. My colleague has a house nearby and makes an offer for me to rent his house. However, the house is a bit too large for me, I'll think it over / think over it."

"it" refers to the "offer" made by my colleague. Which is correct: "think it over" or "think over it"?
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    I would say so. It sounds very odd to me. "Think on it / about it / through it" all sound fine in that order, but "think it over" always seems to be used in that order.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    In most circumstances, yes it is. I could probably come up with a situation in which think over it would sound natural, but I would have to think pretty hard. Think it over is what you're going to want to use almost all the time.

    Cross-posted with JamesM
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    it would be very helpful and appreciated if such an example could be given.
    May I ask what you hope to learn from an example? Forgive me for asking, but the thing is that any example I came up with would have to involve a fairly elaborate and convoluted set of circumstances in order to justify something as odd sounding as think over it. It's not something you're likely to run into in real life. It's not something I'm very likely to run across, either.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    "I'll think over it again." --Graham Greene, Travels With My Aunt

    "I'll think over it to-night." --Frederick Marryat, The King's Own
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I looked for examples and found a few from Indian sources. It may be idiomatic in Indian English. I can only speak from my experience in US English.

    You can easily find your own examples, sunyaer. Type "think over it" in the dictionary and thread title search box at the top of the page. Towards the top of the page that is displayed you will see choices to see the word in various languages. Included in that list is the option to see it (or, in this case, the entire phrase) in context.

    Give it a try! I think you'll like it.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Both of those sound odd to me, Glenfarclas. They may make perfect sense on context, but out of context, I just don't see why Greene and Marryat wouldn't say the far more common think it over.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    May I ask what you hope to learn from an example? Forgive me for asking, ...
    I feel that "think it over" sounds better, but also that "think over it" doesn't sound that odd. I would like to see a context in which "think over it" fits. Here "it" is a pronoun and assumed to refer to something mentioned earlier. Such an example would help better understand how the language works.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It is a fundamental principle of English grammar that "Particles can never precede an unstressed personal pronoun object" (as quoted, for example, in A Student's Introduction to English Grammar - Huddleston & Pullum).

    So we say, for example,
    She took her coat off
    :tick:
    She took off her coat:tick: (only a particle can come before the object. Compare She took downstairs her coat.:cross:)
    She took it off:tick:
    She took off it
    :cross:

    Particles are basically prepositions and include (up, down, round, forward, back etc.).
    It would be surprising if someone were to come up with an example that disproves this statement.

    The original verb think combined with the particle over illustrates this principle.
    Note that you can say think over the problem, where the problem is, of course, not an unstressed personal pronoun object.

    PS I find neither of the examples in #9 convincing.
     
    Last edited:

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It is a fundamental principle of English grammar that "Particles can never precede an unstressed personal pronoun object" (as quoted, for example, in A Student's Introduction to English Grammar - Huddleston & Pullum).

    So we say, for example,
    She took her coat off
    :tick:
    She took off her coat:tick: (only a particle can come before the object. Compare She took downstairs her coat.:cross:)
    She took it off:tick:
    She took off it
    :cross:

    Particles are basically prepositions and include (up, down, round, forward, back etc.).
    It would be surprising if someone were to come up with an example that disproves this statement.

    The original verb think combined with the particle over illustrates this principle.
    Note that you can say think over the problem, where the problem is, of course, not an unstressed personal pronoun object.
    "Off" in "take off" is an adverb, whereas "over" in "think over" could be an adverb or a preposition. When "over" is taken as a preposition, it should be followed by a noun or pronoun.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Here is an example from H G Wells: "And this is right and as it should be; eccentricity, in fact, is immorality–think over it again if you do not think so now…"

    Perhaps the grammarians should think it over!
    Alternatively, if it is not to be regarded as a standard phrase at the time it was written (1895), one can say that it is a verb + preposition (e.g. cross over the street) and not a separable verb.
     
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