51 Comments

  1. @ Andréa – I have no idea what you think you “screwed up”, it all looks fine to me. Your link revealed that the panel posted here was actually #3 of a four-panel strip, and the comment there (plus the reply from the author) confirm that “thin g” was indeed a typo, and should have read “think”.

  2. “Well, I guess it wasn’t . . . I’ve no idea where it went to. And shouldn’t it be “. . . another thinK coming”?”

    There was *huge* discussion about that 10 years ago when Obama used the phrase. Apparently there are a *LOT* of people who insist on using “another thinG coming” including, surprising to me many journalist who ought to be able recognize the word play of “If you think that you’ve got another think coming”. Surprisingly many people will insist that “think” is not a noun. Which was rather the point.

  3. Yes, I get Library Comic by mail nowadays, and was ewwwwed by the whole thing for this “issue”.

    I’m with woozy’s summary and Grawlix’s encapsulation on the “another think coming” question.
    I missed the comment / reply about this, but have to ask Kilby – did the author actually call it a typo rather than mistake or slip?

  4. Okay, a partial “never mind” here. The comment and reply dialog is a little weird, but doesn’t involve “typo” at all. What I’m calling weird is that Gene A’s response of “Nice!” isn’t at all clearly acknowledging a correction , but seems more like appreciating a new invented variation or quip.

  5. @ Mitch4 – I took the “Nice!” to mean something on the order of “You have a point there, but I’m still not going to bother to fix it.” There is a wide range of attitudes among webcomic artists with regard to errors. Adam Huber (Bug Martini) and Leigh Rubin (Rubes) have been rather receptive about fixing mistakes, but some other artists seem to take a biblical attitude about their creations (Quod scripsi, scripsi).

  6. I do proofreading for Clay Jones (Claytoonz), albeit to his personal email. When someone corrects him via the comments, he does NOT like it. However, it’s his blog, not his comic, that usually needs correcting; I sometimes think he’s so furious and typing so fast in a hurry to post daily. He DOES ‘preciate ‘personal corrections’, and I even got a mention/thanks in his latest book. Dave Kellett (Sheldon) called me Ms Pedant, which I think is quite ironic, considering he is an English Major, whatever that entails. Actually, as English is my second language, I took that as a compliment.

    And my ‘pologies for the extraneous comments above; I should know better than to be commenting at 1 a.m.

  7. Merriam Webster says both are acceptable. I’d never heard of “think coming…” until this very moment. Now I’m sure I’ll see it everywhere. I’m plenty old enough (get off my lawn) to have seen this before. Maybe I have and always just read over it.
    “If you’re expecting a raise this year, you’ve got another thinG coming” makes perfect sense to me. You are expecting one thing (a raise), but you’ll be getting a different thing, i.e., no raise.
    “you’ve got another thinK coming” also makes sense. I can see why both work.

  8. “Another thing coming” makes no sense except perhaps in that very narrow case where you are expecting something to be given to you. Even if it’s the most familiar version to some people, it’s pretty clear it originated as a mishearing of “another think coming”.

    The problem is that the original idiom, “another think coming”, only works if you start the sentence with “If you think”. In this case, it’s “If you’re hoping”, so he can’t have another think; no previous think has been introduced. Maybe he could have another hope coming.

  9. Thanks, Powers. You put nicely what was bothering me about TedD’s example: for me also, it’s obligatory to have a “think” earlier in the sentence.

  10. I’m in agreement with TedD, only that experience he describes as happening right now happened many, many years ago. I perceived the “another think coming” as a clever, punning updating of a tired old cliche, for a phrase that often only made dubious sense to begin with, probably because it stemmed from an even older, more archaic form of English that had gotten “fixed” along the way (was my thinking).
    If it weren’t the title of a book, how many people would still say “Far from the madding crowd”? (and despite this, how many people don’t say it that way?) How many people say “Chomping at the bit” instead of “Champing at the bit”? (This was used with good effect to define Paul Giamatti’s character in the series “Billions”.) One I see being changed before my eyes is “Thank God” becoming “Thanks, God”.
    But, according to Merriam Webster’s, my naive understanding was wrong, I got it backwards, “think” apparently is the older form, and “thing” being an attempt to “correct” what was perceived as an incorrect usage. Learn something every day.

    But I could care less…

  11. And if Blake hadn’t engraved his own plates for his poetry, how many people would be spelling it “Tyger Tyger”?

  12. I’m in the “another thing coming” camp. You are thinking of one thing, but the thing which actually is coming is something other than the thing you are thinking of. But I don’t consider either to be an error.

  13. I’ve seen it both ways. (That is, “Another thing coming” and “Another think coming.”)

    I saw it as “thing” first, and years later I saw it as “think” and thought it was a typo in print. Not so, my said mother, who was used to seeing it as “think.”

    The same thing happened to me with “He’s a card shark” and “He’s a card sharp”. I had always read the term as “card shark,” so when I first encountered “card sharp,” I figured it was a typo. Not so, said my mother, who was used to seeing it as “sharp.”

    Languages just do that. They evolve. If they didn’t, many more of us today would be speaking Proto-Indo-European.

  14. And not five minutes after the reading the above think/thing etc. comments, I was looking at another site where someone was described as being “a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.”

  15. But what’s the *point* of saying you have another thing coming? Why not “well, I have news for you, pal”. Why would being wrong in thought imply anything tangible (which is what a “thing” is) is coming your way. And what king of thing? An ice cream cone? A christmas present? It just makes no sense to me while “you think so? Well, My think is better than your think and it’s gonna clobber your think. You better think again cause I’m sending my think your way and you’ve got another think coming” is so very obvious to me. Whereas “So you are of the opinion Robinson will make a better mayoral candidate? Well, here’s an ice cream cone/punch in the nose to persuade you to change your mind” doesn’t work for me.

    As for “card sharp” ….. oh, come on! Sharp isn’t a noun. No-one is a sharp.

    A “shoe-in for the hall of fame” would be a just shoot me now moment but I just like the joke of having big shoes to fill to get into the Hall of Fame. But I really want it to be recognized as deliberate joke.

  16. Well, yeah. It means they’ve got their foot in the door. 😉
    Okay, I’ll leave…
    No, wait… I was going to add that I had always heard it as “thing” until I went off to college In North Texas, where I first heard “think”. I just attributed it to Texakans and their colorful turns of phrase. Up until yesterday I believed, like larK, that “thing” was the original usage. We live and learn.

  17. Apparently Randall Monroe does make corrections for his XKCD pieces from time to time. I’ve read discussions remarking on the fact

  18. Intriguing. I’m 180 degrees round from TedD; I’ve never read or heard “another thing coming” until today. Maybe I need to get out more.

    So many malapropisms! Myriad writers, even in respected publications, seem to think that bemused means amused and that albeit is equivalent to although. The editors are apparently all out to lunch.

    They confuse averse and adverse, reign and rein, prescriptive and proscriptive, deconstruct and destroy, grudgingly and begrudgingly, loath and loathe, flaunt and flout, dubious and doubtful, effect and affect, obsolete and obsolescent, diffuse and defuse, discrete and discreet, morose and morbid… and that’s just what I can think of right now.

  19. “seem to think that […] albeit is equivalent to although”

    Direct copy-and-paste from Websters Unabridged:
    Albeit /Al`be´it/ (?), conj. [OE. al be although it be, where al is our all. Cf. Although.] Even though; although; notwithstanding.

    What do you think it means? (Alternatively, what do you think “although” means?)

    I agree with the others, though.

  20. Just read in a book that a character ‘cleansed his pallet’ . . . and no, he wasn’t outside, power-washing those wooden things.

  21. The difference between albeit and although is subtle. Both are conjunctions, but they have different uses.

    Albeit is equivalent to “although it is.” It’s easy to remember this if you just look at the word and think of it as a shortening and reconfiguration of “although it be.”

    For example, “I’m making progress, albeit slow” is correct. “I’m making progress, although slow” would be awkward, if not incorrect; it’s not clear whether slow refers to “making” or “progress.” It could even refer to you! You’d want to say instead, “I’m making progress, although it’s slow.,” or “I’m making progress, although slowly.”

    I love English. It’s rich with near-synonyms that carry subtly different shades of meaning. That makes English an ideal language for poetry. It also makes English hideously difficult to learn and translate!

  22. Woozy – “Another thing coming” makes as much sense as saying, “another think coming.” It is more common now than than the latter, at least according to one source and we all know what it means. Whether you can parse it as a compiler would makes no difference. Saying someone went “head over heels” usually means someone went tumbling along. I don’t know about you, but head over heels is how I normally stand. Trying to parse that literally wouldn’t get you to what it conveys. Even if you want to claim the phrase “another thing coming” as literally parsed makes no sense, there are many, many instances of such phrasings in English that do not parse literally.
    What other thing is coming? We don’t know. The phrase is intended to mean the first thought is most definitely not right. “Another think coming” or “another thing coming” both mean the same thing. Namely, “you’re wrong.” The phrase could have morphed into, “If you think , purple monkey dishwasher!” and it would still be just as correct if everyone knew exactly what the phrase is intending to convey.

  23. (1) I’ve always heard it and used it as “another think coming” (and intend to keep on doing so).
    (2) Another pair of confusables that most people I read seem to get wrong more often than not is “disinterested” vs. “uninterested.”

  24. So in other words, even though everyone has been presented with evidence that “thing” is the corrupted version, and even though “think” admittedly makes more logical sense, “thing” is what you’re going to continue to say, just because?

  25. Well now, this may be a good time to jump back in with a Descriptivist reminder that languages are always changing, and change is not “corruption”.

    It’s important to add that even as a descriptivist one may have personal preferences as a speaker and writer, and when something is seen in the process of change, one may want to encourage it or discourage it.

    Also, there is a non-confrontational way of not quite saying “A is wrong and B would be right” in terms of “the traditional / the standard form is B”.

  26. I don’t know that “think” is necessarily more “logical”. Is there any other context in which you have used it as a noun? I feel a think coming on. Does that sound logical?

    And given that this is the first time in my 50+ years that I have heard it as “another think coming”, then yes I will continue to say it the way I know just because.

  27. @ LeVieuxLapin – “…makes English hideously difficult to learn and translate.
    It depends on both the skill of the writer and that of the translator, of course; but in my experience the problem is not so much translations from of English (into a foreign language), but going the other way: to produce good English from a foreign original. I do get frustrated when watching American movies(*) in German, since they often miss nuances, or cannot render a concept that simply has no parallel in German society(*), but I find it even more troublesome when reading English translations that have been produced by a German author. A surprisingly large percentage of Germans can produce passable or even good English renditions from a German original (understandable, if stilted), but the number of people who can compose a convincing, error-free treatment for public consumption is vanishingly small. The problem is that the authors (and their German colleagues) just don’t know the difference, and it is often hard to explain.
    Overconfidence in such self-generated English translations is a very widespread phenomenon in Germany: examples of simple, or even ridiculous mistakes can be seen all over (for example, in museums, or on ticket machines for public transportation).
    P.S. (*) – I simply do not watch American TV shows in German, the translations are rarely better than mediocre, and are often excruciatingly bad. Movies are usually done a lot better than TV.
    P.P.S. I do avoid German translations of anything by Mel Brooks. Yiddish humor rarely survives unmangled when back-translated into German.

  28. P.P.P.S. The worst thing of all is discovering a silly mistake in one’s own writing, especially when it was buried within multiple paragraphs complaining about finding mistakes in someone else’s. Please ignore the superfluous “of“.

  29. There’s Rodin’s famous sculpture of the guy sitting there taking a slow and apparently very hard Think.

  30. I’m reading Preston and Child’s book, White Fire, and in writing about the Colorado mining town in which it takes place, they use the term ‘card sharp’. I wonder if those in mining towns even KNEW of sharks . . . ?

    “A card sharp (also cardsharp, card shark or cardshark, sometimes hyphenated) is a person who uses skill and/or deception to win at poker or other card games. “Sharp” and “shark” spellings have varied over time and by region.”

  31. “Overconfidence in such self-generated English translations”

    Very well put. This is a common problem, not just with Germans. I ran into it a lot in Brazil. It is very hard to convince them of the value of having a native speaker do the translations; as you say, the authors just don’t know the difference, and it’s hard to explain, but it is so obviously apparent to any native speaker! You can show the extremes of bad Chinese translations (they’re so ubiquitous), but they seem so obvious that you can’t convince your target that they make mistakes like that. You can try going the other way, translating into their language to show that you translate well, but awkwardly, but it’s a very hard cognitive task to see the two as equivalent — my language has all kinds of rich nuances and fine grades of meaning, your language is a set of finite, learnable rules that I have mostly mastered, and the few exceptions don’t really matter much. And because I can’t perceive the finer meanings, ipso facto they don’t exist.

  32. “Rodin’s famous sculpture of the guy sitting there taking a slow and apparently very hard Think”

    Is that what you call it…

  33. Mark M: re: ” I feel a think coming on. Does that sound logical?:

    Here’s an exchange from a 1953 Theodore Sturgeon story, “The Wages of Synergy”:

    “I had a think,” she said detachedly.

    The phrase thrilled the part of him that
    was always so nerve-alive to her; so
    many rich moments had begun with her
    .sudden, “Killy, I had a think. . . .”

    “Tell .me your think,” he said.

    “It was after I went away,” she said,
    “and I was alone, and I had the think,
    and you weren’t there. I made a spe-
    cial promise to save it for you. Here is
    the think : There is a difference be-
    tween morals and ethics, and I know
    what it is.”

    “Tell me your think,” he .said again.

    ****************
    Google search for phrase “I had a think” claims “about 818,000 results” — the above quote just happens to be one I recall from a favorite author. (Admittedly his characters here are being twee.)

  34. Another use of “think” or “thinks” as a noun:

    “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” Dr Seuss

    and some less twee businessfolk using same:

    https://www.thebigthinks.com/about
    “I’m Chrissy and I hate things that die in powerpoint. That’s why in 2017 I setup The Big Thinks – a business consultancy built on the principles Think/Do, meaning insight and strategy is always linked to action.”

    and
    https://advantagetalentinc.com/big-thinks-magazine/
    “Big Thinks Magazine
    Big Thinks is the Magazine of the Global Mastermind Accelerator. Accelerate Possibilities. Accelerate Solutions. Change the World!”

  35. We [Hubby & I] were watching an André Rieu concert; André was speaking in Dutchn with English subtitles on the screen. I was laughing; Hubby couldn’t figure out why. Well, the translation was for shite, and the nuances could NEVER be translated.

    As for thing/think – I always thought ‘think’ was meant as a joke or play on words, and liked it so much I always use it.

  36. “It is more common now than than the latter, at least according to one source and we all know what it means.”

    Except its not. And no we don’t. I had never heard *anyone* say “another thing coming” until some journals seemed to deliberately misquote Obama when he say “another think coming”. And when I heard it I had no idea what it could possibly mean. And after that I never heard anyone else ever say “another thing coming” until this discussion here.

  37. Powers – no, not everyone agrees “think” makes more sense. Corrupted is also a poor characterization of what happened. You might as well be complaining that Dick is a nickname for Richard and rail against people using it as such.

  38. I’ve been thinking (sorry) about this a bit.

    I’m something of a language geek, so I often rail against maltreating nouns and verbs – that is, forcing nouns to act as verbs and vice versa. I think grim thinks when I hear computer people speak of “doing an install.” English has a perfectly good and apt noun for that: installation. Why make one up?

    Well, that’s precisely what this phrase does – it, uh, nouns a verb.

    I really hadn’t read or heard “another thing coming” until I read this comic and exchange, but speaking (writing) strictly grammatically, it’s closer to standard usage than is “another think coming.”

    “Think” here isn’t wrong. The Oxford dictionary online allows that “think” can be a noun. However, it assigns it the go-sit-in-the-corner dunce cap of informal usage: “noun: informal (in singular): An act of thinking.” It also cites this exact phrase: “have another think coming – informal: Used to express the speaker’s disagreement with or unwillingness to do something suggested by someone else.”

    For what it’s worth, Oxford online cites no fewer than 20 example phrases in its definition for “thing.” None of them is “another thing coming.”

  39. The Language Log entry was interesting. The last two sentences were very telling. I found the eggcorn database that is linked to in the article less amusing than just… well, sad.

  40. I think “card shark” and “card sharp” come from two different etymologies, even if they mean the same thing. A “sharper” is “a cheater in bargains; a swindler; a cheating gamester.” (Webster’s New International Dictionary, second edition.) A “shark” is “a rapacious, crafty person who gains by swindling and the like” (ibid). One is “sharp” and uses his skills for evil; the other is a “shark” hungry for prey. That is, one brings his card skills and looks for suckers to use them on; the other looks for suckers and applies his card skills to them. So they weren’t exactly intended to be synonyms but the Venn diagram is two circles that exactly coincide.

  41. Woozy – you don’t know what “another thing coming” means? And yes, it is more common. It says so in the link from Arthur and if you do your own google search you’ll see it to be true. There was even a song with that very title written by a very popular group. It is very common and everyone knows exactly what it means. Even more, Obama was not misquoted. He did, in fact, say, “another thing coming.” You can listen for yourself.

    You might not like it, but the phrase “another thing coming” is here. And it means exactly what you think it means and it is more popular than the phrase it originated from. You might as well argue “literally” hasn’t come to mean figuratively.

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