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  1. #1
    Nightmare85's Avatar
    Nightmare85 is offline Senior Member
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    I was thinking about...

    Hello guys,
    I almost always hear the expression:
    I was thinking about...
    but strangely I never hear:
    I thought about...

    Is "was thinking" more common because it lets the "procedure/process" look longer?
    Example:
    The thinking itself takes 10 minutes, then the guy has an idea, and then he comes to me saying:
    I was thinking about...

    I just try to find out the logic.
    It seems it has nothing to do with:
    While you were working I was thinking about...

    I hope the main question is clearly understandable

    Cheers!



  2. #2
    Nightmare85's Avatar
    Nightmare85 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I was thinking about...

    I'm talking to no one.
    All those sentences that begin with "I was thinking about" are taken from US TV shows.

    Cheers!

  3. #3
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Re: I was thinking about...

    I think people in the US (at least there) often overuse continuous tenses simply. I'm feeling well, I'm loving it. There are many examples. Personally, I like it. But it's substandard as far as I know.
    Not that I was thinking is wrong, but it doesn't mean the same as I thought.

  4. #4
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I was thinking about...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    I'm talking to no one.
    All those sentences that begin with "I was thinking about" are taken from US TV shows.

    Cheers!
    Please, don't get your idea of what is good English from US TV shows.

    To me there is a slight difference between the two expressions.

    "I thought about you,and the good times we used to have, so I decided it was time for a phone call."
    This is to me, a more immediate action going on.

    "I was thinking about my old car, and all the money I needed to spend on fixing it up, so I decided it's too much and bought a new one."
    This could have been ten years ago.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is online now VIP Member
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    Re: I was thinking about...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    I'm talking to no one.
    All those sentences that begin with "I was thinking about" are taken from US TV shows.

    Cheers!

    Gillnetter is referring to your never hearing: "
    I thought about...", not questioning your hearing of "I was thinking about".

    Both sentences are common, and are used also by non-Americans.

    "I was thinking about ..." is perhaps more commonly spoken because it leaves open the possibility that you still might do it, depending on what the hearer says. It's polite talk, like "I think I might go to bed now" - which means "I am going to bed now, unless anyone has any objections, or can offer a good reason I should stay up."

    At a party: <yawn> Sorry. I was thinking it was time I left. (In this case, you can't say, "I thought it was time I left" without inviting the response, "Then why are you still here?"

    "I thought about ... " is used mainly in contexts in which the speaker has decided against doing what he was thinking about.
    A: My wife and I thought about France for this year's holiday, but it's too expensive. So now we're thinking about Albania. We were also thinking/we also thought about Italy, but rejected that for the same reason.

    So, in general, "I was thinking about ..." indicates to the hearer that his input might reinstate that line of thinking. "I thought about ..." closes off this option, so you'd be less likely to say it to someone, so it's less likely to be heard.







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