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"Who would have thought," I said, "that drinking water could kill you."

"You did think of/about it." Aiko into .

Should it be of or about? Why?

  • Let me think about it. Hopefully I can think of an answer. – user3169 Aug 24 '17 at 20:29
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To "think of something" is to have the idea come into your head. It is used to mean that you originated the idea, as in, "Henry Ford was the first person to think of the idea of an assembly line." It is also used to mean you became aware of something, not that you necessarily invented the idea, like, "I thought of your birthday so I sent you flowers." It's also often used in the negative, "Oh, I hadn't thought of your likely reaction."

To "think about something" is to consider it, to ponder it. It's not usually used to describe an idea that is original with you. Like, "I thought about man's unique position on planet Earth." The speaker probably did not create human beings nor put them on planet Earth, but he's thinking about how this all came about or what it's implications are.

So in this context, dangers of drinking water, to say you "think of it" means that the idea that drinking water could kill you has indeed occurred to you. To say you "thought about it" means that you have considered the problem. That is, "think of" means you are aware the potential exists, but does not imply that you have thought any further about it. The entire thought process could have been 2 seconds, "Hey, this could kill you". "Think about" means some further consideration, perhaps that you have examined how or why water or could kill you, or have thought about ways to prevent it from killing you.

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"You did think of it" could imply that the subject (that drinking water could kill you) may not have even occurred to a person. As in "I thought of a new invention." or I discovered something new.

"You did think about it" doesn't include that implication but instead implies something like pondering upon the subject. "I thought about a new invention." or when I was presented with a new invention, I thought about it. I could have considered what effect it would have or else how it worked exactly.

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