Another think, again

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 22 22:25:49 UTC 2008

Are "date of origin" and "date of earliest-known citation" necessarily
coincidental? Is it really the case that

"If you think that, then you have another think coming"

whose earliest-known citation dates from 1897, was reanalysed as

"If you thing that, then you have another thing coming"

by 1904, a mere seven years later?

Or is it the case that "another think" dates from 1897 and its
reanalysis as "another thing" dates from 1904?

Judas Priest's 1982 side, _You've Got Another Thing Comin' / Coming_
reads, e.g.:

"If you think I'll sit around as the world goes by,
"You're thinking like a fool, cause it's a case of do or die.
"Out there is a fortune waiting to be had.
"If you think I'll let it go, you're mad.
"You've got another _thing_ comin(g)."

Though this is far later than 1904, clearly, there's no obvious
coincidence between this string of phrases followed by

"You've got another thing comin(g)"

and the saying,

"If you think that, then you have another think coming"

Judging by what's on this site:

a lot of those who say, "you have / you've got another thing comin(g)
don't necessarily have any knowledge of the existence of the
introductory phrase,

"If you think that, then ..."

The phrase, "You have / you've got another thing comin(g)," like the
cheese, stands alone.


On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 2:19 PM, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Another think, again
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 1:33 PM, Brenda Lester <alphatwin2002 at> wrote:
>> On Thu, 5/22/08, Geoff Nathan <I><geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU> wrote:
>>> Wilson wrote:
>>>> "If you think that, then you have another think coming!" is one of my
>>>> mother's favorite clich=E9s, when she's pitching a bitch. I've heard it
>>>> under that circumstance all of my life and I hate it hearing it, for
>>>> that reason. Since she was born in 1913, my guess is that, if "think"
>>>> isn't original, then it's at least a relatively old reanalysis.
>>>> Besides, why couldn't a person use "think" as a noun, if he wanted to?
>>>> We are discussing English, after all.
>>> My mother, who was born in London, England in 1924, used exactly the
>>> same words.  Given the distance in geography and ethnicity a comparative
>>> linguist would be compelled to push the proto-form rather further back.
>> My mother was born in rural Laurens County, GA, in 1926, and she used
>> the "think" phrase.  OT:  My grandmother used "holp" for help."
> Just to clarify, for anyone who hasn't been following the ongoing
> discussion of antedatings and such, all evidence points to "another
> think" as the original form, with "another thing" a later reanalysis.
> Earliest citations thus far are 1897 for "another think" and 1904 for
> "another thing", so the reanalysis happened pretty quickly. It's
> comparable to other swiftly developing eggcorns like "home in on"
> (1944) > "hone in on" (1965).
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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