Can we use "think" without "of"?

Like: When I think writing, I think trouble.

I've seen it written like that a couple of times.

  • Think different. Good Luck!
    – Kris
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:02
  • It's not the same as "think of" here, but much more than that. It's an idiomatic phrasing and as such comes with an idiomatic meaning and significance. Please delve a little deeper and discover.
    – Kris
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:04
  • 1
    @Kris 'Think different' is famous only because Apple broke the rules. It is properly used as 'think differently'.
    – LWTBP
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


The verb think has many senses. I believe the sense you're referring to is "call to mind" (Sense 2.3 in this Oxford entry)

Strictly speaking, think of is the more common way of using it in this sense. However, you're right that it can be used without the of. I'd call it a creative use. It does get the message across. In my experience, it's used when the speaker wants to sound snappy, so it's less common in everyday conversation and more in slogans and such.

There is one exception where it's used conversationally very often. When you say think to mean "picture something of that variety". As in:

"Have you decided on the menu for the party yet?" "Oh yeah. It's gonna be amazing. Nachos. Tacos. Tortillas. Think Mexican food."

PS - The think different discussion is irrelevant. Different is an adverb in that sentence and you can't use of before adverbs without changing the meaning and possibly even removing all meaning. (*"Think of different")

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