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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    to come up with versus to think of something

    I am not sure I understand the meaning of the phrasal verb to come up with. Dictionaries aren't of great help. I need to know as many various uses of this phrase as possible - two or three examples given in the dictionary entry is not enough. So could you help me with more examples?
    Can we say that somebody has come up with an original idea? with a rhyme? with something creative? What else can you come up with?

    What's the difference in meaning and use between to come up with and to think of? Can I say "He has thought of / came up with a funny story"?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to come up with versus to think of something

    When you are faced with a puzzle, a dilemma, an obstacle, an unexpected question etc. and you think of a solution or reply, you have "come up with" something. To "think of something" is similar. In terms of connotation, I think the difference is that "think of something" tends to indicate that you had more time to think, while "come up with something" tends to be more towards a quick answer.

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: to come up with versus to think of something

    Is solving puzzles and dilemmas the only sphere of use of "come up with"? Can I use it when speaking to schoolchildren after they have performed on the stage:

    It's been a most spectacular show. You have come up with wonderful ideas and creative costumes.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to come up with versus to think of something

    I am not a teacher.

    I don't agree with the distinction made in post #2. Although it can mean that, 'to think of' implies more thinking about something you already know, whereas 'to think something up' is to imagine or create something new, and is much closer to 'to come up with'.

    To 'come up with wonderful ideas and creative costumes' is perfectly natural language.

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