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  1. #1
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default I was thinking (of) something else

    Context: a teacher talking. At the same time a student not paying attention. Then the teacher asks the student what the teacher has been talking about. The student's reply:

    Sorry, I was thinking (of) something else; could you repeat....


    (If the student chooses not to say I missed the point)
    It is OK to use THINK as a transitive verb on some occasions; but I am not sure whether the above sentence is acceptable in such a context. If the sentence sounds odd to native speakers, tell me direct.

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    Sorry, I was thinking (of) something else; could you repeat....
    It sounds OK to me. I wouldn't leave out "of" though.

    Edit. Check out this thread. owlman5 agrees with me .
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 14-Nov-2012 at 17:03. Reason: added edit

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    Context: a teacher talking. At the same time a student not paying attention. Then the teacher asks the student what the teacher has been talking about. The student's reply:

    Sorry, I was thinking (of) something else; could you repeat....


    (If the student chooses not to say I missed the point)
    It is OK to use THINK as a transitive verb on some occasions; but I am not sure whether the above sentence is acceptable in such a context. If the sentence sounds odd to native speakers, tell me direct.

    Thank you very much.
    It would seem to me that, in the context you have presented, it is obvious to the teacher that the student has not been paying attention and is not seeking an excuse, but rather he/she simply wants the student and the class to know that the teacher is aware of the fact. I would recommend that that the student simply ask the teacher to repeat the discourse. Forget the excuse.

  4. #4
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    It would seem to me that, in the context you have presented, it is obvious to the teacher that the student has not been paying attention and is not seeking an excuse, but rather he/she simply wants the student and the class to know that the teacher is aware of the fact. I would recommend that that the student simply ask the teacher to repeat the discourse. Forget the excuse.
    Thank you very much.

    Your suggestion is good. But I've invented a situation simply because I hope to know the correct way of speaking.

    By the way, is there any teacher who thinks it OK to use both versions?

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    I would use only 'thinking of'.

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    I would say 'I was thinking about something else'.

    '...thinking [no preposition] something else' sounds wrong to me.

    Rover

  7. #7
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I would say 'I was thinking about something else'.

    '...thinking [no preposition] something else' sounds wrong to me.

    Rover
    Thank you all. In fact, what owlman5 said is extremely interesting. I never start a thread without thinking hard.

    Before I started the thread, I had consulted several authoritative dictionaries, including of course my favourite OALD.

    In that dictionary, THINK is said to be a transitive verb, but obviously the editor has evaded something difficult to explain so he simply stuffs THINK into the category of TRANSITIVE, which we can know by viewing the example sentences:

    Well, I like it. What do you think? (interrogative sentences)
    I think it highly unlikely that I'll get the job. (with complement)
    He's thought to be one of the richest men in Europe. (with complement)
    He was trying to think what to do. (followed by wh- words)
    You're very quiet. What are you thinking? (followed by wh- words)
    I was just thinking what a long way it is. (followed by wh- words)
    We couldn't think where you'd gone. (followed by wh- words)
    Just think how nice it would be to see them again. (followed by wh- words)
    If I'm late home, my mother always thinks the worst. (not a concrete noun)
    Try to think yourself into the role. (with complement/functions as a rarely transitive verb)
    If you want to make money, you've got to think money. (very informal)
    I can't think where I put the keys. (followed by wh- words)

    All these example sentences have been recorded in different senses in the same entry, and the bracketed words are my opinions, but you can notice an important thing- THINK in this transitive sense is never what we consider a usual transitive verb to be. That is to say, probably when THINK is followed by something not definite, we can put a direct object after THINK. But I am not sure whether this applies regarding my original sentence.
    Last edited by nelson13; 15-Nov-2012 at 22:19.

  8. #8
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    There is a definition in another entry in the same dictionary:

    thinking and/or worrying continuously about something so that you do not pay attention to other things

    Is there anyone who has a different opinion?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: I was thinking (of) something else

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    There is a definition in another entry in the same dictionary:

    thinking and/or worrying continuously about something so that you do not pay attention to other things

    Is there anyone who has a different opinion?
    Rover said in post #6 that he'd use 'about'. I might, too.

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