Difference between "think of" and "think about"

Hello everyone,

Please can you explain me the difference between “think of” and “think about”. And do we say “to think of someone” or to “think about someone”?



Both are correct and have the same meaning in your examples. Sometimes there is a small difference between “to think of” and “to think about”; it is a bit complicated, perhaps you could look it up in your dictionary.

ok, many thanks.

For me that I was taught, they are slightly different. “Think about” means you keep something always on your mind for a period of time e.g I was thinking about getting married when I was promoted. So that’s the way it goes.

Think of is something slightly different. Think of has a meaning of just remember what happened or what you have done as well as who you met…etc e.g an officer may ask his manager if the manager remembers the documents that the manager sent him yesterday, the officer can say: Mike, do you think of the documents you sent me yesterday?

Am I correct?

Right, thanks!

Anna: at first I, too, was about to write something like what you said, because that was how I remember I was taught and how I (sometimes) perceive the difference; but when I tried it in my mind I found that “thinking of getting married” is quite possible as well, or so I believe, with the same meaning. I think the distinction, if ever sharp, is quite blurred now. If you Google “thinking about getting married” versus “thinking of getting married” you will even find that the latter yields slightly more results. As far as I could see, their hits were of the same tenor. I should say the same applies to the example of this thread.

Hey Anna, thank you for your contribution.

yeah you’re right in that situation, but not grammatically correct at all…

‘Mike, did you think to grab those documents?’ would be what we say…

We don’t say ‘Did you think of ~(something)’ unless it’s a new idea:

Did you think of anything to wear for the halloween party?


But she’s asking ‘Think of (someone)’ and ‘Think about (someone)’… So, think ABOUT these examples I thought OF:

Did you think of me at all when you were with her? (Did I come to mind)
Do you think of me as your lover? (Do you see me / consider me to be your lover)
Just think of me next time you need someone to talk to. (Remember me)

I was thinking about you the whole time I was with her. (Continuously)
I think about you whenever I get lonely (Occasionally)
I will think about you when I’m gone (Frequently)

That oughta be more simple

totally agree with you, Landquest. thanks

@Cerberus: Both can be applied to the example but has a slightly different meaning that I tried to illustrate. Google doesnt mean everything, something yielded more results than others does not always mean it is grammatically correct. Agree?

Certainly. But if one thing is more frequent than another this means at least that it is commonly used. I was wondering at how many situations there might be where the distinction is too subtle to make either choice “wrong”. Nevertheless I agree with you on the distinction. Landquest’s examples are excellent.

Whether something is grammatically correct is judged differently depending on the purpose of the judgement. In my first post I gave a simple answer to someone who perhaps believed that one of the pair was simply wrong - though I added that there were subtle differences. You expanded on those differences, which is always a good thing.