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I often see people use the verb “consider” in place of “think” as in

(a) “I consider that this project will be completed in three years,”
(b) “We consider that this deficiency can be overcome by using a different material” or
(c) “I consider that this clause should be deleted.”

My understanding is, “consider” can take a that clause when it is used to indicate an assessment (e.g. “I consider that he is very talented” though “I consider him very talented” is much more likely) or point out a fact that needs to be taken into consideration when making a decision (e.g. “We have to consider that he is still a child.” But other than these cases, the construct “I/We consider + that clause” sounds unnatural to my ear.

Would you say sentences (a), (b) and (c) above are acceptable?

Now that I think about it, many of the people around me who use this construct have law-related jobs. Perhaps it is legalese?

Thank you.

  • 2
    No, I wouldn't. – Tushar Raj Jun 27 '15 at 11:16
  • I think this might be a duplicate of this question, although I think this question is written much better than that one. – J.R. Jun 27 '15 at 11:23
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There is nothing wrong with using consider in that manner. Consider the following shades of meaning [TFD]:

  1. Think or deem to be
  2. To suppose or believe:

and the following quote, taken from the libretto for The Music Man (a classic musical from 1957):

I consider that the hours I spend with a cue in my hand are golden.

That is not an unusual usage by any means, nor is it lawyerly. It may be a bit inflated, given that the huckster Harold Hill is trying to impress an audience, but still it is calculated to be persuasive and not off-putting.

If you can think, deem, suppose or believe that something is a certain way, you can certainly consider that it is so. I certainly do.

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    I consider you're probably right, though I haven't given the matter much thought. But I suspect that would be relatively uncommon phrasing compared to I think you're probably right, though I haven't given the matter much consideration. – FumbleFingers Jun 27 '15 at 11:49
  • Granted, but we must allow for healthy variety lest our prose wander into formulaic rigidity. – Robusto Jun 27 '15 at 11:55
  • I think/consider/suspect/fear the majority of "deviations from the norm" we see here on ELU owe more to lack of familiarity with standard usage than to deliberate variation for the sake of some context-specific effect. But whereas I think you're less supportive of the ELU/ELL division than I am, I would never dream of being so presumptuous/contentious as to say I consider you less supportive than me. – FumbleFingers Jun 27 '15 at 12:15
  • @FF I'm with you in thinking that the distributions of 'consider' and 'think' when the senses seem near identical are still subtly different. Your examples are near the 'quite odd-sounding' bit of the continuum. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 27 '15 at 14:03
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This is an example I get a lot in my job. Consider the following three examples:

  • We consider that it is wrong
  • We consider it is wrong
  • We consider it to be wrong

To my ear, only the final example - using the infinitive - sounds correct.

I'm constantly correcting the word 'consider' to the word 'think', but I'm unclear if this is a rule that can be applied universally, or if it's just my ear.

  • Also ... 'we consider it wrong'. – Nigel J May 4 '18 at 12:56

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