So my husband and I got into an argument over this expression. I noticed a billboard that said “Another thing coming” and complained about it being wrong. It’s supposed to be “another THINK”. He said it looked right to him and that was the expression he used. I countered by saying I was absolutely positive I was correct, because the expression could be used as follows: “If you think you’re going to get away with that, you’ve got another think coming” meaning think again! Can you tell my mom used this expression often?
Fast forward a couple weeks later and we heard this usage in a song: another thing coming. I started to doubt myself. I should never doubt myself about such things, but it seemed the whole world was against me in the use of this expression. Today, I finally remembered to look it up and here’s what I found:
Of course I immediately had to send a link to my husband because, while I’m quite willing to back down over big things we argue about, I will go to bat for nitpicky details that don’t matter.
If you don’t feel like clicking the link, the short of it is “another THINK coming” is the original usage as I believed. Here’s a quote from the article:
“The earliest real example of the ‘thing’ version of the phrase that I’ve found is from the New York newspaper The Syracuse Herald, August 1919:
“If you think the life of a movie star is all sunshine and flowers you’ve got another thing coming.”
The paper’s local rival, The Syracuse Standard, outdoes that by several years, by printing the ‘think’ version in May 1898:
“Conroy lives in Troy and thinks he is a coming fighter. This gentleman has another think coming. It is probable that McCoy will next meet Joe Choynski.”
‘Another thing coming’ is just a mispronunciation of the original phrase. The source of this mistake is probably the duplicated ‘k’ sounds of ‘think’ and ‘coming’. When voicing ‘another think coming’ the two ‘k’ sounds are merged and what we utter phonetically is ‘thingkumming’. There’s very little difference in sound between that and ‘thing coming’. The ‘thing coming’ speakers may also have been influenced by a sneaking feeling that ‘another think coming’ is ungrammatical. Actually, a little consideration shows that it is perfectly grammatical, although it is a rather unusual form of speech – we would normally use the word ‘thought’ in this context. The split-second choice of how to pronounce a word doesn’t give time for such considerations and many people have just opted for ‘thing’.”
So, there you have it, because I CARE enough to spread wisdom. And we don’t need to talk about the fact that I used to sing the lyrics to Elton John’s Rocket Man as “Rocket Man, burning all the shoes off everyone” (even though I knew it sounded insane) and that my husband corrected me with “Rocket Man, burning off my fuel up here alone” which, you know, actually makes sense.