Correct use of “I’m thinking of” or “thinking about + verb + ing”

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“I'm thinking of” or “thinking about + verb + ing”

Hi there! I’m your English coach Christina, welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll learn American culture and business know-how to become confident in English.  

Grammar in English can be tricky. Just when you might think you basically got it, some expressions come by, and you make a mistake. For instance, “Thinking of + gerund”!

What is it? What’s the correct way to say what you mean? Don’t worry, I’m here!

Oh, and you can get this lesson and 49 more in my new upcoming resource pack “What was that?: How to correct 50 common mistakes and avoid confusion in American English

Let’s go!

The Common English Mistake When Using ‘I’m thinking’

So you’re kind of planning to do something. Changing jobs, for example.
A very common mistake is to say “I’m thinking to change jobs.”

I get it, it sounds natural! After all, we say “I want to change jobs,” or “I’d like to change my job,” or even “I’m planning to change jobs” – and these three sentences are correct.

And yet, “I’m thinking to change jobs” is a grammatical mistake: don’t say it! It will sound wrong to native English speakers. Sure, they’ll understand, but it sounds a bit… off.

“Thinking of” + Gerund = the Correct Expression

Instead, the correct construction you can use is “Thinking of” + gerund.  
Little reminder, the gerund is the verb +-ing

As in these correct examples:

“I’m thinking of changing jobs.”
“We’re thinking of getting a new car, soon.”
“We’re thinking of moving to another city, next year.”
“What a coincidence, I was just thinking of calling you !”

I know, you might find it unusual, to see two verbs that end in -ing so close to each other in the same sentence. In fact, the first verb (“Im thinking”) is in the present continuous tense, while the second (“changing’) is the gerund – basically, it’s a verb that’s used just like a noun.

Try to replace it with a noun or a pronoun, it works! For instance we would say “I’m thinking of you”, we wouldn’t use “to you” here!

An alternative: Use ‘thinking about’ instead of ‘thinking of’

So now you know the common mistake and the correct structure.

But to be honest, they might still be a bit confusing. You don’t want to lose your confidence by trying to remember which one is which!

That’s why I’d recommend you use an alternative, a third option: use about.
“I’m thinking about changing jobs.”
“We’re thinking about getting a new car.”
“We’re thinking about moving to another city.”
“I was just thinking about calling you!”

They mean the same thing! But it might be easier for you to remember “thinking about” than to pick between the short prepositions “of” and “to.”

Now, tell me: How would you say that you’re kind of planning to go to the US in the summer?  

Write your answer down in the comments!

There are many more mistakes that I want to help you with! 

That’s why I’ve created a new ebook, “What was that?”: How to correct 50 common mistakes and avoid confusion in American English.”

It includes 50 short, easy-to-learn lessons so you correct your common grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation mistakes. It also includes common idiomatic expressions and American culture do’s and don’ts, helpful quizzes to get you remember what you learn, and so much more!

You can pre-order your pack today! You’ll get a free copy of my ebook “What The Faute” immediately, and your we’ll send your resource pack to you when it’s ready, on November 30, 2018!

Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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