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Is the meaning of "think" in this sentence clear or ambiguous?

"Think the moment of victory."

Does it mean "think" as in

  1. "think", as in imagine the moment of victory

  2. "think", as in cognitively perform the act of thinking when the moment of victory happens

  3. or can it ambiguously mean both of these interpretations?

Thanks

  • I guess the sentence is grammatical and means 2) but it is a very awkward sentence that most people will not be able to parse at first. Adding of or at after think would not only remove your ambiguity, it would also make the sentence a lot easier to understand and "correct" in the eyes of most readers. – oerkelens Apr 3 '17 at 5:57
  • Did you read this sentence somewhere? If so please give your source. If you made it up yourself then it is incorrect. – chasly - supports Monica Mar 23 '19 at 18:52
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To most English speakers, the sentence would be very difficult to comprehend as the word think is very rarely used in the form used here; although grammatically it is correct.

A more common use of the phrase would be:

a. "Think of the moment of victory" b. "I want you to think of the moment of victory" (removes the ambiguity and makes it sound less as a fragment).

However, perhaps the best way to fix the sense it to replace think with imagine; they do not mean the same thing as used in this context.

Imagine would involve more creativity or license to dream; usually used as motivation; "Imagine yourself at the top of the mountain." or "Imagine the moment when you receive the winner's trophy" or "Imagine the feeling when you cross the finish line"; or "Imagine the moment of victory".

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"Think the moment of victory."

Does it mean "think" as in

"think", as in imagine the moment of victory

"think", as in cognitively perform the act of thinking when the moment of victory happens

or can it ambiguously mean both of these interpretations?

No. It does not mean any of those things. It is not ambiguous - it is incorrect.

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1

This is not idiomatic English. It is not natural. It parses as an imperative, with the verb to think and the object being the moment of victory. This is not a current usage of the verb to think in British, American, Canadian, or Au/NZ English. Well, it is used in certain specialist circles, often artistic or managerial, the kind of domain that delights in coming up with new ways to torture the language. Even in that sort of usage, I would expect it to use quotation marks to show the way it is being said:

Think "the moment of victory".

Short of that, by any reasonable standard (that is, one based on how people actually speak and write), it is incorrect, and it will be seen as incorrect by native speakers.

Usually, we think of things. And you could certainly say:

Think of the moment of victory.

There's a reasonably modern use where it takes an adjective as argument:

Think big.
Think sustainable.

This is generally used for relatively slogan-like language, encouraging people to think in a certain way. To think big is to not set limits to the imagination; to think sustainable is to think about sustainability as well whenever you think about other things.

There's also a way it gets used with simple nouns as object:

"What colour do you want to paint the room?"
"I'm thinking orange."

"What shall we get for dinner?"
"I'm thinking Thai."

That's just a way of indicating an initial thought, as opposed to a firm conclusion.

But if you want to tell someone to think about something, you need to say think of or think about. If you want them to actually imagine it, envision it, you want imagine instead:

Imagine the moment of victory.

And if you want them to keep victory in mind while they think about things, you could say:

Think victory

I'm not sure that's a particularly attested term, but it fits a pattern people are used to. You might be better off sticking with familiar phrases, though.

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