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

Discussion in 'English Only' started by river, Jan 15, 2006.

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  1. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Is the expression "you've got another think coming"? or "another thing coming"?

    Moderator note: This thread has become long enough that you might like to begin your journey by reading a summary of the first 288 posts by someone who read them all. If so, go to Post 289 ... and thank you, n0lqu. ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2012
  2. Le Pamplemousse

    Le Pamplemousse Senior Member

    USA, English
    You've got another thing coming.
  3. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    It's easy to confuse thing for think on this one, because the /ng/ of thing is palatized in the back of the throat and is practically swallowed; then, it runs into the first /k/ of coming.

    Now, it would only be thinkif someone were making a play on words. For example:
    If you think I'm going to give in, you've got another think coming.

    But the expression is definitely you've got another thing coming.
  4. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    I'm pretty sure that I have heard this expression only in variations of:
    "If you think that, then you've got another think coming."

    It would not sound half so snappy if you said
    "If you think that, you're wrong, so wait for some new thoughts to come."

    It does not make sense to me with "thing".
  5. the-pessimist Senior Member

    English, United Kingdom
    Brioche? are you serious about your statement below? :eek:

    OK, i'm not australian, so perhaps you are telling the truth.

    but i can say that in 'England', it would most likely be used as:
    "you've got another thing coming"

    although, i have heard "think" before many a time, having said that, i wouldn't go so far as saying it does not make sense - as it used so often like this!
  6. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    This is how I've heard it as well. It's one of those things a parent says to a child when they've done something bad. I can't think of many times when you'd want to use this phrase. It looks really odd in writing.
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The expression I have always heard is "think".
    In the contexts where I hear this, the alternative "thing" version would be meaningless.

    If that's what you think, you have another think coming.
    ... is clear and forceful, indicating that your current "think" will soon be rudely displaced by another. Typically said by persons in authority to children.

    Amusingly, the first two Google hits for "you've got another thing coming" are about this as an erroneous form of the think version.

    Comparing Google hits for the two phrases is not helpful as the thing version appears in song lyrics plastered all over the web. As a result, there now appears to be a different expression, with thing, that means goodness knows what.
  8. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    "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.
  9. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    I agree with Brioche, Panj and Desert Cat. It makes absolutely no sense to use the word thing. I've always thought it was think.
    Brioche's suggestion of it being a pronunciation thing also makes sense.
  10. morgoth2604 Senior Member

    Israel - (Fluent Hebrew and English), Passable French, Horrid German
    According to this site which is pretty accurate most of the time, it's you've got another think coming (which also makes sense!)!

    Here’s a case in which eagerness to avoid error leads to error. The original expression is the last part of a deliberately ungrammatical joke: “If that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming.”
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2010
  11. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    Just another UK born-and-bred person here - adding her voice to the view that it is generally THINK! (Where in the UK do you live, ibby?!)
  12. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    After polling every friend and family member I have, I've concluded that the expression is you've got another thing coming. The respondents emphasized that the phrase is used in a semi-threatening or threatening way.

    All of them said that this expression with "think" sounds very odd, although a couple of them raised their eyebrows as they contemplated the "interesting spin" that the expression would have if it were worded with "think." But it isn't, as far as I'm concerned.
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    think, n. 2b to have another think coming: to be greatly mistaken.
    1937 Amer. Speech XII. 317/1 Several different statements used for the same idea - that of some one's making a mistake...[e.g.] you have another think coming.
  14. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Thanks for the link on the "mis-use" of the expression you've got another think coming. This implies that there is only one correct version of this expression.

    So, what you guys are saying is that this expression I've used my entire life, which is used throughout the Western U.S. and by everyone I know, as well as by Judas Priest, is wrong? That the version I use is not as valid as the version you use?

    If that's the case, then my next question is this: To what degree do you view this thing negatively? I mean, when you hear someone say "another thing coming", do you dislike it? Does it barely register? Is it mildly annoying? Are you able to listen to the famous song of that name without retching? Does it grate on you? Have you sworn an oath to destroy it?

    I'm asking because I'd like to know how much I might be irritating others by saying it. Oh... but if you think I'm going to change the way I say it, you have another thing coming. :)

  15. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have difficulty in judging my reaction to another thing coming because I have never heard it used:D
    I have never heard the song.
    I have taken no oaths to destroy the thing.
    It doesn't grate - yet - but I could become sensitised to it if someone kept on saying it in my presence...
    ... but if they did, I am fairly sure that I would add the k myself almost without noticing, unless you were being very articulate and the difference between the first think and the second thing happened to be really clear. Then I would simply consider this another example of a misheard idiom and tolerantly carry on listening. I would of course have missed a few words after the thing while I had a think;)

    There is no doubt that the thing version is alive and well, I believe mostly in AE. What is the thing that is coming?
  16. JazzByChas

    JazzByChas Senior Member

    Houston, TX USA
    American English
    In truth, or, for sooth, I have always heard, something to the effect of, "If you think that, then you've got another thought coming..." Maybe I have lived under a verbal rock.:confused:

    Now I have heard, "You've got another thing coming" although I'm not sure if I understand exactly what this is trying to communicate, other than the speaker wishes to convey that his/her idea strongly disagrees with the person spoken to.
  17. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I, like Fen, have always understood "thing" instead of "think." But I stand corrected. This reminds me of "I could care less" instead of "I could not care less" or "you can't have your cake and eat it too" instead of "you can't eat your cake and have it too."
  18. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    I disagree. I think that this expression with "thing" is just as meaningful as it is with "think."

    On the other hand, "I could care less" means the opposite of "I couldn't care less;" and the idiom about cake just strikes me as the same sentence with the phrases reversed.

    Until someone proves that the version with "think" is somehow better, more original or more logical, I don't stand corrected.
  19. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    As I think about it, "You've got another think coming," meaning, "You need to think about this some more" or "Your ideas about this matter need to change" makes more sense than "thing."

    By the way, you can "have your cake and eat it," but you cant' "eat it and have it."
  20. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't feel the need to try - it is clear that there is a very well-established "thing" movement. My curiousity about the nature of the "thing" is (almost) genuine. I would like to know more about thingism. What are the characteristics of this thing?
  21. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    I, like fenix, am a thing-er. I don't say this that often, but if I did, I'd be angry and annoyed.

    BF: I hope you don't mind that I used our vacation money to order plasma screen TVs for every room of the apartment.

    EG: You can cancel that order right now, because if you think we're actually buying them, you've got another thing coming, mister.

    Admittedly, "think" would have a great deal of logic here. But that's too gentle -- merely inviting him to think again on the error of his ways. Instead, an unspecified but ominous and menacing "thing" is headed his way. The mystery of the "thing" adds to its threat, but it falls into the same generally nasty category as the implied "things" in "you'll get what's coming to you", "you'll get exactly what you deserve."
  22. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Examples? Hmm. Here's one from the famous (?) song called "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.

    If you think I'm going to clean your room for you, you've got another thing coming! Get up there and pick up your toys, mister, before I give you a good lashing!

    The thing could also be a piece of someone's mind or a good talking to.

    If he thinks I'm going to go to a boring party just so he can put in an appearance, he's got another thing coming! And I'm going to tell him so!

    Funny... the only examples that come to mind begin with "If you think..." I can see where a logical conclusion to this idea might be "...another think coming." It seems to emphasize a misconception on the part of the other person, rather than wrongdoing.

    I have officially thought too much about this expression. Good day.
  23. NealMc Senior Member

    UK English
    I've always "heard" it as another thing coming.
    As in....
    If you think you're having ice cream for pudding, you've got another thing coming. (A clip around the ear hole / tapioca and being sent to bed early).

    I was not an especially naughty child but I see this phrase as a portent of doom for someone who's done something bad. Definitely a physical thing in this context.

    I like the idea of quoting Judas Priest as an example of linguistic clarity.

    Hellbent for Leather
    Neal Mc
  24. the-pessimist Senior Member

    English, United Kingdom
    as i said in my original post.. i am not denying whether think is correct or not - i was just shocked that it made no sense - you still may say it makes no sense, but please do not make me out saying think is 'incorrect'

    it does not make obvious sense to me, as to have 'another' one coming, i would have to normally say, "i have a think coming", or "i have a think" which i have never heard. i don't know if any of you speak like that when stating that you have a thought (coming?)?

    and to have another thinG coming, fine, maybe incorrect - but does make sense to me, i don't see how it is so complicating.

    you have something else coming your way - like a shock, a punch, being fired, etc.
  25. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Many of the usage examples given relate to parent/child comments. I am convinced that this has such deep roots in childhood that any attempt to suggest that people should change would be akin to asking them to deny their heritage - so I am not going to try.

    But I feel the need for a little clarification of the thinkists' position.

    If you think black crows are white, you have another think coming - which is that I, personally, will make it my business to eradicate the black crows are white thought from your mind and insert, forcibly if necessary the alternative thought (the other think) that black crows are in fact black. (The use of "think" as a noun is well-established.)
  26. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    When I first read this post, I thought the answer was perfectly obvious: BOTH.

    I have now read that it is one way for some and the other for those across the way. However, I've heard, and probably used, both. The "think" version refers to prior statements about what someone thinks, and the 'thing' variety is used....well, er, refer to prior statements about what someone thinks.

    So there. Now you have three authorities for the 'thing' version, Pollo, me, and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
  27. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    If I heard the average person using that phrase, I would automatically assume they were saying think, but if I heard you say it Fenixpollo, I may well feel compelled to give you a clip around the ears! Just joking! :D
  28. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    My tuppence worth here. I'm definitely in the thing camp. The way people from round Manchester pronounce their ings (the final G is definitely voiced as in sinGinG a sonG) means that the nk couldn't be confused with a ng. Unless of course I've heard it and said it wrong all my born days which could very much be the case.
  29. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    I had always used ‘thing’ in the sense above—just one of those things that I did without thinking. Some years ago, someone corrected me and after seeing the impeccable logic of the thing, I started using think, but grudgingly. However, I really think ElaineG explanation is a good thing and I think I’m going to switch back to using thing. This is just a personal thing, and I would definitely not even think about ‘correcting’ a person who uses think. :)
  30. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    Ok, so I skimmed through most of the threads and maybe someone already mentioned this but... Isn't think a conjugated verb, coming from the infinitive to think? (i think, you think, he/she/it thinks...) Thing makes much more sense to me. You have another thing coming infers a contradiction, that which one wants is not going to take place, rather something else will be the result. Think sounds bizarre to me at best.
  31. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    Think is also a noun, though, as in "I'll have to have a think about that...".

    The OED gives two meanings of "think" as a noun: "act of thinking" as in the example above, and "opinion":
    It's this one that leads to "you've another think coming".
  32. Isotta

    Isotta Senior Member

    English, Hodgepodge
    I thought it was "thing," as in a general ominous phrase. Though as soon as I read the original post, I realised I couldn't really say--I don't ever remember seeing written.

    I'd say in Appalachia it's "thing," since the pronunciation of "thing" turns into a drawn-out "thang," whereas "think" doesn't become become "thank." And it's definitely "hey's got annuthuh thangkummin."

    To answer panj's question about what "thing" could possibly mean, I suppose "thing" defines itself somewhere along the lines of "Thing One" and "Thing Two."

  33. whatonearth Senior Member

    UK, English
    Well...this is all news to me! I'd always thought it was "thing" but it appears that I may be incorrect in that...

    Every day's a school day round here isn't it? ;-)
  34. Pnotunr New Member

    English USA
    Nope. the expression is "think" and it's used the way you used it above. I used to be admonished with the "If you think so & so, you've got another think coming.
  35. chesty Senior Member

    Hello. I should like to air my opinion.

    Firstly, i should say that i have never (knowingly) heard: "you've got another think coming", and i was frankly shocked to see it as part of a dictionary entry in *13.

    I have heard the expression many times, and it has always played in my ears as: "you've got another thing coming".

    To me, it is an expression which is laced with menace; it means that grave consequences, of which you are currently ignorant, await you. Sometimes it means that the consequences await irrespective of any change of mind or action.

    e.g. "If he thinks he's going to get away with taking a skim, then he's got another thing coming!".

    It's the sort of fighting talk one might expect from the mouth of a gangster of the 1930/40s in U.S. films of the same period., greatly mistaken - yes; but a little more than that all the same.
  36. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Well, pnotunr... It is obvious from the posts in this thread that both ways (with "think" and with "thing") are correct. Your "nope" is a little too sure of itself.

    If you think that yours is the only right way, then you have another thing coming.

  37. chesty Senior Member

    Hmm. Menacing words Fenix.
  38. Pnotunr New Member

    English USA
    Granted. I should have said "However if you don't use it with the obligatory 'If you think so and so', then "thing" would make more sense.

    I did do some research on the web and found some good examples of this being used in literature, often the source of many of our current expressions. Each usage cited the expression as I mentioned.

    Judas Priest has caused "thing" to be totally acceptible in modern usage. I would say that most folks born while listening to this song use the "thing" version. I never heard it any other way than my example until their song.

  39. chesty Senior Member

    Judas Priest! you're breaking the law!

    I just asked a sixty year old native speaker of BE and she said that "i had another coming".

    She's never heard of Judas Priest.

    Maybe you've been playing their records backwards!
  40. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I'm with you on this Panjandrum. I have never before heard the expression "You've got another thing coming" but have heard "You've got another think coming" a million times. What "thing" is coming? Have I missed some context?

    First Person: "I think you're misguided"

    Second Person: "You've got another thing coming"??????
  41. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I had always thought that the use of thing in this chant was erroneous but after reading fenixpollo's most fervent defence of his phrase I am now convinced that his phrase makes just as much sense as the phrase I have heard all my life.

    If that's what you think! (There is an expectation created that something beneficial is going to happen to the thinker) Then you've got another thing coming! (A thing different from the thing you are expecting).

    This makes perfect sense to me.
    In some strange way it seems to be slightly less colloquial and more direct.

  42. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    Here is what the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms has to say. “Have another thing coming” is not in the dictionary. “Have another think coming” is defined as: “Be mistaken and therefore have to reconsider or rethink one’s answer.”
    Equivalent to “have another guess coming.”
    Related to “guess again.”
    My examples:
    If you think it is worth $20 you have another think coming.
    You think it’s worth $20? Guess again!
    I do use “Think again, buddy!” as an invitation for a bar fight. But “another think/thing coming” sounds to me too much like a mother scolding her child to be of any real use to me. ;)
  43. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    You're right in your example except that my knowledge and useage of the phrase "You've got another think coming" is argumentative and your example isn't. "If that's what you think!" is agreeable and doesn't invite an argument. "You've got another think coming" is, in my experience, a challenge to the other person that their thinking needs to be changed.
  44. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    Yes I quite agree but I think that fenixpollo has given me another thing to use.
    I will now be able to use the thing chant when I will brook no argument.

  45. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I'd never seen the "thing" version until I looked at this thread. I'm in the "think" camp.
  46. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    I didn't mean to be menacing, chesty. I was merely continuing to take issue with the attitude that there is one right way to say this. I was guilty of that attitude in my first post:
    ...but I have since seen the light, thanks to the helpful and tolerant foreros above. :)
    Pnotunr, I know that you weren't trying to be confrontational. I'm sorry if I came across as such.

    However, I'm interested in this theory that one British metal band bears the sole responsibility for the propagation of the "thing" version of the expression. It sounds as if you're saying that the "think" version is correct and that it would be the only version, if not for the (mis-)use of those rockers.
  47. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    I'll add my voice to the "think" camp. I have never heard "thing coming", only "think", and it is always in a sentence that includes "think" twice:

    EX: "If you think you're the God's gift to business, buddy, you've got another think coming"
  48. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I have absolutely no doubt that the original version was along the lines of;
    If that's what you think then you have another think comming.

    This is a very clever double statement.

    The 'think comming' is from the 'piece of my mind' that I am about to give to you which will cause you to revise your thinking.

    I have noticed that many people who learn English as adults have great difficulty saying think and many native speakers will slur think to thing. This gives an easy road to allow the saying to change over the years.

    I think that the think version retains both original meanings;
    I am going to think really hard at you
    You will change your thinking.

    I further think that the thing version is simply a clever statement that you will not get what you want.

  49. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    I agree. That's how it strikes me as well - as a play on the words of the original cliché, and a clever one at that.
  50. equivoque Senior Member

    Queensland, Australia
    Australia - English
    My childhood was punctuated with "another THING coming". It was assumed that my expectations were well in excess of what was, in reality, my fate.

    e.g.: "If you thought you were - going to the movies this afternoon/getting that bike for Christmas/getting away without doing the dishes - Then you have another THING coming".

    I didn't have to do much thinking, the other "thing" was not a good thing.

    (monkey sees, monkey does ---- I say that now, in an equally menacing tone!)
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