Which is correct?

  1. He was pondering about the meaning of life.
  2. He was pondering the meaning of life.

3 Answers 3


The most common preposition is actually ponder over...

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There's no difference in meaning, though some may think upon is dated and/or formal.

But in fact OP's second example (with no preposition at all) is by far the most common usage...

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In most contexts where no preposition is used, one can directly replace ponder with think about, but think on, think over, and think upon don't normally work so well. This may lead some people to assume that ponder somehow "includes" the word about, so they find ponder about tautologous.


The second would be better.

As for the first, "ponder" is usually followed by either "upon" or "on," the latter being less formal and more common.

The meaning of "ponder (on)" is "think about." This is why the Preposition "about" is normally confused with it.

  • Let me ponder that. :^) Of course, one could always say, quite simply, "I ponder." However (same as with many other verbs), that doesn't make for a very interesting or descriptive sentence. BTW, I'm not arguing – merely pondering out loud...
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 14:33
  • "Ponder upon" does sound pretty fancy. Thanks for the detailed answer.
    – scribu
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 15:32
  • Glad I could help
    – Cool Elf
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 15:34

After pondering on (chewing on) the phrases, I guess that PONDER ON is typical of common English. 'Ponder upon' reminds me of very formal scene i.e a lawyer in a court of law.

  • 2
    Did you review previous answers before posting yours? Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 17:29

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