For this week’s Thursday Inspiration, Jim Adams has given us the song “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” from Judas Priest and/or the word “music.” I’ve been inspired in a totally different direction.
In his post, Jim wrote…
The phrase “you have another thing coming” is sometimes said as “you got another think coming,” and because of this Judas Priest song, people actually argue over which phrase is correct.
Jim correctly points out that “to have another think coming” means “to be greatly mistaken.” It comes from the notion that if you think something and you are wrong, or someone believes that you are wrong, they will tell you to think again.
The fact is that “another think coming” is, as Jim noted, the older of the two, dating in use to the mid-19th century. “Another thing coming” appears to have come about in American English several decades later.
The only context I can think of for the use of “thing” in the phrase might be if you were expecting two packages to be delivered to your doorstep from Amazon and you received only one. So you reach out to Amazon and they tell you, “Don’t worry, you have another thing coming.”
According to Merriam-Webster, the use of “thing” rather than “think” suggests that “thing” is an eggcorn of “think.” An eggcorn is term used to describe a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as part of a set expression.
Thus, “another thing coming” probably originated in speech with the mishearing of the “k” in think as being the hard “c” in coming, which leaves something that sounds suspiciously like “thing coming.”
These days, though, “another thing” is the more common turn of phrase, though it is frequently criticized, especially by pedantic purists like me.