"thing/think" [was: on the eggcorn beat]

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu May 1 17:38:34 UTC 2008

On Thu, May 1, 2008 at 12:43 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> At 5/1/2008 10:38 AM, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> >Indeed. The playful use of "think" is even more evident in the fuller
> >version of the expression, "If you think X about Y, then you have
> >another think coming."
> This convinces me that "think" is correct and "thing" wrong ...but
> then again I was always a believer.
> For those who thing* it should be "another thing coming" -- I wonder
> whether there's a distinction between mental and physical activity,
> so that "if you [do something]" leads to "you have [something else]
> coming".  "If you come upside my head, you have another thing coming"?
> Amy West almost says this, but still has the antecedent verb as mental:
> >"if you think you're going to play with my models, you've got
> >another thing coming".

Note also that the earliest citation found so far for the "thing"
version, from 1919, also fits the "If you think..." frame:

1919 Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 12 Aug. 8/3 If you think the life of a
movie star is all sunshine and flowers you've got another thing

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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