What is the difference between "think of" and "think about" ?

4 Answers


The first difference in usage I can think of right now is that you use 'start' to denote that you've put something into 'working' mode, usually a machine; for example: - to start a car - to start an engine

while you can't do this with 'begin'.

Also, to relate to the original question, I'd add that the verb 'think of' has a meaning 'to remember' and is used to denote recalling something in a particular moment (the way I used it in the first sentence).

Hope this helps :)


"Think of" is used in spoken American English. "Think about" is spoken in the UK/Australia/New Zealand. If you are writing a formal paper, be sure to use "Think about", as it is the formal, proper phrase to use!


Syl 200

think about is to consider something. In general you think of something, you think of a person, but when you say that you're thinking about something, it's because you're paying more attention than usual... "I'm thinking of you" "I'm thinking of moving to Paris, it's a great place to live" "This situation is really worrying... I've spent all day thinking about that" That was what I learnt when I was an English student a long time ago! If a native disagrees, let me know! thanks!


"Think of" and "think about" each have several uses.

"Think of" can mean to recall. You could say "I'm trying to think of that person's name", meaning trying to recall the name. "Seeing the picture of Paris made me think of my friend who lives there."

But either on can be used to mean that you are considering something; "I'm thinking of going to the zoo", or I'm thinking about going to the zoo mean the same thing. You can also say "I'm thinking about the new idea that I read about today" to mean that I'm actively considering or analyzing the idea.

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