29th January 2021
Idiom Tips: Another Think Coming or Another Thing Coming?
You may have seen the phrases “another think coming” and “another thing coming” used in writing. But what exactly do they mean? Are they interchangeable? Or is one version correct? This post will explain how to use the phrase in your writing.
What Does “Another Think Coming” Mean?
“Another think coming” is an idiom that people use if they think someone is mistaken and should change their opinion. In other words, they are saying someone needs to “think again” about something. For instance, we could say:
Harry was so sure he would win the game, but he had another think coming!
Here, the speaker is saying that Harry was wrong to believe he would win the game. He therefore had “another think coming” because losing forced him to rethink!
The Common Error: ‘Another Thing Coming’
The phrase “another thing coming” is now often used in the same way as the original “think” version set out above. For instance:
You’ve got another thing coming if you think I’m paying $200 for that!
If she thinks I’m cleaning up after her, she’s got another thing coming.
This version is probably based on mishearing the original phrase, since it is easy to merge the “k” sounds at the end of “think” and the start of “coming.”
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Some people consider this an error because it isn’t clear what “thing” refers to: i.e., we don’t know what “thing” is coming, so the phrase does not make sense.
However, the “another thing coming” version of this phrase is growing in use, especially in American English. Some dictionaries therefore list it as an alternative spelling of the original “another think coming” version of the phrase.
Summary: Another Think or Another Thing?
“Another think coming” and “another thing coming” both imply someone should rethink something. In this respect, these phrases are interchangeable. However:
- The original version of this phrase is another think coming.
- The “thing” version is a variant based on mishearing “think” as “thing.”
- “Another thing coming” is gaining acceptance as a variant spelling of the original phrase, but many people still consider it an error.
We suggest sticking to the “think” version of this phrase because it avoids the ambiguity of “thing.” But language is always changing, so it may only be a matter of time before “another thing coming” is just as common as “another think coming”!
If you would like any more help making sure your writing is error free, our editors can help. Check out our free proofreading trial today to find out more.
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