Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Have Another Thing Coming

If I thought I knew what I was talking about when I questioned an editor's take on a phrase in one of my recent stories, I had another thing coming.

A lot of writers will say, "If you think such and such, then you have another thing coming," but I've always thought they were wrong.  Until recently my understanding of the phrase was, "If you think such and such, you have another THINK coming." The inference being that you will need to think again.

Apparently it's not as clear cut as all that. When you google "another think coming" you will find a whole bunch of highly educated people who agree that those who say "another thing coming" are an illiterate rabble with nothing better to do than corrupt perfectly innocent phrases with uneducated gobbledigook.

But if you google "another thing coming" you will find an uneducated rabble who would like nothing more than for the uppercrust toffs to take their antiquated ideas and stuff them up their very long noses. So who is right?

The logic behind "another think coming" must be that a person holding a false belief will need to think again. On the other side of the coin "another thing coming" supporters will tell you that if you think you are going to get one thing, then you actually have another thing coming. Cheerleaders for "thing" will also point to the fact that the case for "think" is flawed, because better English would suggest something closer to "If you think such and such, then you have another THOUGHT coming."

This is where I throw my hands in the air and go do something else. It strikes me, that those who thought the "another thing coming" brigade had another think coming, probably have another thing coming. And those who think another thing is coming to those who prefer"another think coming", will pobably need to think again as well.

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