Podcast #109 Phrasal Verbs with THINK

Published in the category Grammar and Usage, Phrasal Verbs


When you think about something you have a thought in your head concerning that thing. For example, suppose I say “I am thinking about how much fun it is to go kayaking.” This means I might have a picture in my head of a kayaking trip I once took.

Do you ever think about life after death?
He was thinking about a new product idea.
She thinks only about herself.

Sometimes, think about means to consider a possibility. In this use, think about is often followed by the -ing form of a verb.

They thought about opening a toy store.
I’m thinking about eating out tonight.
Have you thought about studying Turkish?


The phrasal verb think of can be very close to the meaning of think about. The difference is that when we think of something or someone it is more likely to be a passing thought. When we think about something or someone it is more likely a sustained period of reflection.

He thought of calling his brother, but didn’t.
I thought of you when they played your favorite song.

Another meaning of think of is to apply your memory or intelligence in order to provide some needed information.

Can you think of any reason to refuse her request?
I couldn’t think of any more questions to ask him.

Think of can also mean to have an opinion about someone or something.

What do you think of the new shopping mall?
She asked me what I thought of her new boyfriend.

The construction not think much of means to hold someone or something in low esteem, to consider them of low value.

She didn’t think much of my podcast.
I don’t think much of the new features in Facebook.


To think ahead means to be thinking about the future, to be thinking about plans or arrangements.

In this section, you will hear two or more sentences that go together. Then I will say the sentence with the phrasal verb three more times, for you to repeat each time.

That friend of yours seems to live from minute to minute. He never thinks ahead.

I love having green spaces right in the middle of the city. I’m glad planners thought ahead about people’s needs.

When you think ahead to something or think ahead to some action you are making plans or at least thinking about something specific in the future.

Anna was being careful about the clothes she bought. She was thinking ahead to college in September.

This recipe takes some planning. You have to think ahead to what ingredients you’ll need.

The earthquake left us with no electricity or gas for two weeks. But we were lucky. We had thought ahead to store emergency supplies.


There are three constructions containing think back. These are think back to, think back on, and think back over. All three of them refer to thinking about the past.

The constructions think back to and think back on are very close in meaning and can usually be used interchangeably.

In this section the first two statements are quite long. For these long sentences you will only repeat the part that contains the phrasal verb with think back.

When I think back to my childhood, I realize my parents were not very happy together. When I think back to my childhood…

When she thought back on her wedding day, she couldn’t help smiling. When she thought back on her wedding day…

Think back to the first time you kissed.
The old lady thought back to her years as a nurse.
He thought back on the early days of his career.

The construction think back over is used when thinking about a span of time or something that happened in a span of time.

He thought back over his years as a fisherman.
Do you often think back over your life?
Think back over what you ate today.


To think out means to analyze carefully. This phrasal verb is separable, as you will see in the following two sentence pairs.

I usually take the time to think out my choices.
I usually take the time to think my choices out.

Let’s think out the problem together.
Let’s think the problem out together.

Think out is often followed by a clause beginning with what.

They thought out what they had to do.
Have you ever thought out what you want from life?

The phrase well thought out means planned in an effective way. The opposite is poorly thought out.

Every detail of the presentation was well thought out.
It was a poorly thought out plan.


The meaning of think through is to make a careful analysis. It is often interchangeable with think out. Think through is a separable phrasal verb.

Let’s think through our options.
Let’s think our options through.
Let’s think out our options.

He thought through what he had been told
She thought through what she needed for the trip.
He thought through what he was going to say.

To think over means to consider carefully before deciding. This is a separable phrasal verb.

I want you to think over my suggestions.
I want you to think my suggestions over.

He took two days to think over the job offer.
He took two days to think the job offer over.

Did you think over what we discussed?
I want to think over my response to his criticism.


To think up means to create a new idea of any type. This is a separable phrasal verb.

I just thought up a way to double our profits.
Did you just think that up?
She thought up a silly name for her story.
What will Apple think up next?

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