“Think” is a very common word in the English language. This is because all people have brains (whether they use it or not).
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Thinking is a very natural and automatic part of life. If we stopped thinking, we would probably die or not be human anymore. It’s the one ability that separates us from other animals.
In fact, the famous philosopher Descartes said the following words:
Cogito Ergo Sum.
The well-known sentence above is in Latin and it’s often translated as:
I think therefore I exist.
I think so I exist.
This means that if people stopped thinking, they would completely disappear. It's worse than dying. What makes humans human is our ability to think. And what gives value to human life is our minds.
The human brain never stops working. Even when we sleep, it keeps on processing and storing information. It takes up only about 3% of the body’s total weight, but it uses 20% of the body’s energy.
Think that vs. Think about
The word “think” has many uses and situations. 2 of them are the most common. They are:
1. Think = to believe something
2. Think = to use the mind to solve something, decide something, imagine something, remember something etc.
We use the first one to talk about opinions. It is what a person accepts to be true, whether as a fact or just as an idea.
For this reason, the first type of “think” is followed by the That Clause.
think that + S + V
I think that English is important.
I think that everybody should learn English.
I think that she is pretty.
I think that it’s too late to do anything.
On the other hand, the second type of “think” means to carefully consider something. It is followed by the Prepositions “about” and “of.”
think + about / of
Because “about” and “of” are Prepositions, they should be followed by either a Noun or a Gerund.
think about / of + Noun / Ving
I have to think of a solution.
I often think about my family.
I always think of the next holiday.
I think of going to Hawaii every day.
I never think of buying a secondhand* car.
*secondhand car = used car, not new
Stative Verb vs. Action Verb
The first type of “think” can’t be used in Ving form.
I’m thinking that English is important. = X
I’m thinking that everybody should learn English. = X
I’m thinking that she is pretty. = X
I’m thinking that it’s too late to do anything. = X
The reason is that the first type of “think” is actually a Stative Verb.
On the other hand, the second type of “think” can change into Ving form.
I’m thinking of a solution to the problem. = OK
I’m thinking about my family. = OK
I’m thinking of the next holiday. = OK
I’m thinking of going to Hawaii. = OK
I’m thinking of buying a secondhand car. = OK
The Ving form is possible here because the second type of “think” is an Action Verb.
If you’d like to learn more about Stative Verbs vs. Action Verbs, just read:
Think About vs. Think Of
In our lesson above, the main difference is between “think that” and “think about / of.”
“Think that” is followed by S + V and it can’t change into Ving form.
“Think about / of” is followed by a Noun or Gerund. It’s possible to change into Ving form.
But there is also a difference between “think of” and “think about” ...
When we say “think about,” the person is the one who focuses his mind.
I’m thinking about her.
I often think about my trip to Egypt.
Let me think about it.
I always think about my future.
But sometimes when we say “think of,” it is the idea that comes and enters the person’s mind.
He told me his name, but I can’t think of it right now.
What a wonderful idea! Why didn’t I think of that?
In these situations, it’s wrong to use “think about.”
He told me his name, but I can’t think about it right now. = X
What a wonderful idea! Why didn’t I think about that? = X
Hope You Learned Something!