The phrases “think on” and “think about” are often used interchangeably, meaning they can both be used in conversation during the same situations. It is up to the speaker to decide which they prefer.
Both phrases mean to take time to think about something. This could be a decision, a question, a general idea, or many other things we think about every day.
For example, your boss at work might say: “We’d like to offer you a new position at the company. We hope you accept.”
Your reply might be something like: “I will need some time to think about it.”
Your reply could also be something like: “I will think on it tonight and let you know tomorrow.”
Fun fact: a similar phrase used in English is “I will sleep on it” which also means to think on or about something, usually overnight. It is important to note that you would only use sleep on, never sleep about.
The phrase “think of” is different from the others because it refers to recalling something from memory. When you “think of” something you are remembering it or being reminded of it.
For example, you might say: “I saw someone with a yellow umbrella today and it made me think of you.”
In addition to referring to people, someone might also use the phrase in reference to a thing or place. For example, someone might say: “When I see fresh herbs it always make me think of Vietnam.”
Fun fact: people will often use this in the past tense as “thought of”. Using the same example as before: “I saw someone with a yellow umbrella today and thought of you.”
Cambly lessons are a great way to get an understanding of how these terms differ and can be used in conversation. Since lessons are one-on-one, you can choose to work through a curriculum or simply have interesting free-flowing conversation… a great opportunity to use terms like “think on”, “think about”, and “think of” within the natural flow of a conversation.
So remember, “think on” or “think about” is when you’re considering something and taking time to think it through. “Think of” is used when recalling something from memory. Go give them a try on Cambly!
Author: Chris Blatchly, Cambly Tutor
If you’d like to keep this conversation going with Chris, give him a call on Cambly or make a reservation with him here: https://www.cambly.com/en/student/tutor/Chris%20Blatchly