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I put together some words which generally means thinking over something deeply or for a long time. I know that we can not use every word in the same sentence just because they have similar meaning. So I would like to ask you to fill in my sentence with suitable words among them. Please choose more than one word if possible:

  1. I have been ................ my son (all day) since he left home for college.

  2. I have been ................ my debt. I owe $10,000, and I will have to pay it by next week, but I don't have enough money. So I have to find a way.

  3. I have been ................ my new school project. I don't know where to start.

  4. The government .............. how to stop the protests (about raising student fees).

My words:

  • to ponder
  • to mull over
  • to contemplate
  • to cogitate
  • to deliberate
  • to ruminate
  • to dwell on

and any advice is welcome to help me discern the differences among them.

5

to ponder

means to, over a period of time, think about the consequences of two or more choices in a decision. If there is only one thing you are pondering, you are pondering whether or not to do that thing.

to mull over

is the same as ponder - but you can mull over collective nouns, meaning you are trying to decide which one of the group. "I mulled over the candy, and found a good piece."

to contemplate

means to think about the consequences of something carefully, thoroughly, and for a long time. Typically when you contemplate something, you are deciding whether or not to do it, not picking among an array of choices. It has a serious connotation, likely due to the common phrase contemplate suicide.

to cogitate

I don't hear this word a lot. According to Google, it can be used intransitively, so you don't have to be cogitating about anything in particular. The other words here generally require a "target" to make sense.

to deliberate [on]

means the same as contemplate. When I hear this word, I think of court proceedings or meetings ("the jury will deliberate... etc.").

to ruminate

I don't hear this in speech very much. In my opinion it's a "less serious" version of contemplate.

to dwell on

means to think about something over and over. It could be the consequences of a decision not yet made, a decision that just has been made, or it could be going over past events in your mind. Dwell on can have a negative connotation, possibly that what you are dwelling on is bothering you or haunting you.


So, I would answer like this:

("depth 10k worths" doesn't make sense to me, so the second is a guess)

I have been dwelling on my son (all day) since he left home for college.

I have been mulling over my depth 10k worths because I will have to pay it by next week but I don't have enough money. So I have to find a way.

I have been dwelling on my new school project. I don't know where to start.

The government deliberated how to stop protest on raising student fees.

2
  1. "ruminating about" or "thinking about". "Contemplating" would be appropriate if the subject of your thoughts was either abstract or inanimate or present. "Dwelling on" would be appropriate if the subject of your thoughts was an emotionally-charged idea involving your son.

  2. "thinking about" or "contemplating". If first sentence of the example were changed to "I have been ................ my finances", you could use "pondering", "mulling over", "thinking about", or "contemplating". If first sentence of the example were changed to "I have been ................ my financial problems", you could use "dwelling on", "thinking about", or "contemplating".

  3. "contemplating" or "pondering".

  4. "is pondering". "Mulling over", "contemplating", "considering" would be appropriate if some specific ideas had been suggested for the government to consider.

"Deliberating" describes the thinking and debating that a jury does, when trying to decide whether a defendant is guilty.

  • Thank you. Can we say " I have worth of 10k dept" ? – Mrt Dec 5 '14 at 21:14
  • "I have 10k worth of debt" or "I have 10 grand worth of debt" or "I have 10,000 worth of debt" or "I have 10,000 dollars worth of debt" are all grammatically correct. They are ambiguous, though. Do they mean "I owe $10,000" or "Other people owe me $10,000"? Usually this can be figured out from context, but not always. – Jasper Dec 6 '14 at 0:52
  • "I am worth 10k" or "I am worth 10 grand" or "I am worth 10,000 dollars" means "I have a net worth of $10,000." Thus, saying "I am worth 10k of debt" means "Other people owe me $10,000." – Jasper Dec 6 '14 at 0:54
  • "I have worth of 10k debt" is not grammatically correct. – Jasper Dec 6 '14 at 0:56
  • "Dept." (with a "p") is an abbreviation for "department". "Debt" (with a "b") is an amount someone owes. – Jasper Dec 6 '14 at 0:58

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