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Think

E4 Think Word Web

Think

Exceptional Expressions For Everyday Events

Let’s think about ways to use the word think. In a classroom, regardless of the activity, the primary goal is to encourage students to think. Think is most often used as a verb meaning to focus one’s mind on something, to use one’s mind to connect ideas. It can also mean to hold certain beliefs or opinions. Teachers may ask their students to think about the solution to a math problem. Teachers may also use techniques to help show students thinking processes. Thinking can be as simple as deciding what to wear for the day, or it can be as complex as pondering the meaning of life. Thinking may take only a split second of inspiration, or it may require an extended process of reviewing and revising over many years, as with a scientific breakthrough.

Although most common as a verb, think also appears on occasion as a noun and even an adjective. Informally, one might say, “This situation has really confused me. I need to take a walk and give it a good think.” As an adjective, think is used in combinations such as think tank, think piece, and think session. These expressions all convey the idea that an expert, or a group of experts, is focusing deeply and analytically on an issue.

Follow-Ups

  • When choosing a present for someone special, do you want to think you have a good gift, or know you have a good gift?
  • When thinking of a solution on a math test, do you want to perseverate on a single problem?
  • What is the difference between brainstorming and researching a problem?

The Spanish Connection

Think comes from the Middle English thenken or thinken, and it is related to the Dutch and German denken. The Spanish word for to think is pensar. Think and pensar are not cognates. But some of the synonyms for think do have Spanish cognates.

Word Changes

  • The past tense and past participle of think take an unusual form: thought. The word thought can be used as a noun and as a verb.
  • Think can be used as a term to direct people’s acts and thoughts. For example, the phrase “Think green” is a suggestion for people to consider changing their behaviors to help the environment. Using refillable water bottles and cloth grocery bags are ways for people to “Think green.”
  • A think tank refers to an organization or institution where a group of knowledgeable or experienced people study and write about specific problems, often political or economic issues.
E4 Think Morphology Web

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