I’m wondering if there is any difference between the forms: “Think of A as B”, “Think A B” and “Think A to be B”. Which one is the most often used? Is there any preference of each form?

  • My question lacks in examples. Is there any difference, for example, between “I think her beautiful.” and “I think that she is beautiful.”?
    – Hidechan
    Oct 29, 2018 at 2:38
  • How about “I found the book interesting.” and “I found that the book was interesting.”
    – Hidechan
    Oct 29, 2018 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


First, the concept that you are concerned with is not so frequently discussed that it is meaningful to say which words and syntactical constructions are used "most often" to describe the concepts of simplification, analogy, and metaphor.

Your middle suggestion "Think cow sphere" is simply not grammatical English.

"Think of a cow as a sphere" is pefectly good English grammar and gets the idea across.

"Think a cow to be sphere" is stilted to say the least. More idiomatic would be "Imagine a cow to be a sphere" or, to take the specific book title from which I extrapolated my examples, "Consider a Spherical Cow."

(There is a brief wiki article on spherical cows.)

  • 1
    There's a difference between I think of him as stupid (I think / know he is stupid), and I think of him as my father (even though I think / know he's not actually my father, that's a good way of describing the kind of relationship I have with him, from my perspective). Oct 28, 2018 at 17:25

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