Another think coming

Posted by Masakim on October 31, 2001

In Reply to: Another think coming posted by James Briggs on October 31, 2001

: : : : Is it "You've got another thing coming" or "You've got another think coming"?

: : : : Both make sense, but "think" should obviously be "thought," so if that's correct, then the phrase is a misuse of the English language so I'd guess it has southern origins (I'm from the South, so don't get mad!).

: : : : I heard "thing" first and would guess that's right, except that about 80% of the instances I've heard seem to be (sometimes it's not completely intelligible) "think."

: : : : Thanks for your help.

: : : My opinion: It's "you've got another thing coming." But "you've got another think coming" is used for (sometimes unintentional) comic relief.

: : When preceded by "If you think X," it's "you've got another think coming"--a deliberate folksy misuse of the verb "think," spoken forcefully and meaning "You're wrong!" "If you think you can run off with that bimbo and get an uncontested divorce out of me, you've got another think coming." It can also be used in the third person: "If those bureaucrats think they can raise my taxes three times in a year, they've got another think coming."

: : The difference in sound between "thing" and "think" may be blurred by the succession of "k" sounds in "thinK Coming."

: : "Another think coming" seems midwestern to me, but I don't know its origin or distribution.

: : Misuse of words is certainly not limited to the South, and anyone who thinks it is has got another think comin'.

: Certainly in use in the East End of London 65 years ago - my old Mum used it regularly, often directed at me!

"You have another think coming"
"If you think that, you have another think coming" means "You are mistaken and will soon have to alter your opinion". This is now sometimes heard with "thing" in place of "think", but "think" is the older version. Eric Partridge, in Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, gives the phrase as "you have another guess coming", "US: since the 1920s, if not a decade or two earlier". Clearly "think" is closer to "guess" than "thing" is. The OED gives a citation with "think" from 1937, and no evidence for "thing". Merriam-Webster Editorial Department writes: "When an informal poll was conducted here at Merriam-Webster, about 60% of our editors favored 'thing' over 'think,' a result that runs counter to our written evidence."
From The alt.usage.english FAQ File