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Thoughts and conjectures

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Thoughts and conjectures

Postby Kurious » Sun 11.08.2009 1:07 pm

I'm trying to find out if there are nuances between the following.

1. Between 考える (kangaeru), and 思う (omou).

2. Between those two verbs and the auxiliaries かもしれない (kamoshirenai), and だろう (darou). I don't know why, but I used to equate 思う to だろう. Now, I'm not so sure.

Thank you very very much.
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby Sairana » Sun 11.08.2009 5:41 pm

Kurious wrote:I'm trying to find out if there are nuances between the following.

1. Between 考える (kangaeru), and 思う (omou).


Can't help with the second bit, however I have some personal impressions regarding the two terms.

考える implies deeper consideration. If I think of someone who is 考える'ing (hehe), I figure they look very contemplative. Maybe with their fingers steepled and a serious look on their face. Or perhaps someone who is taking several days to come to a decision about something.

思う strikes me as a more shallow concept. It refers to something I believe (as in 'I think this is ugly') or a decision made without a whole lot of thought that needs to go into it. ("I think movie A would be more fun than movie B")
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby keatonatron » Sun 11.08.2009 9:26 pm

Sairana's "personal impressions" are correct, but there is actually a strong difference between the two.

考える means to think, as in contemplate, decide, weigh [the options, consequences].
思う means to think, as in to feel a certain way (e.g. "I don't think that is a good idea"), or to be planning to do something.

思う is often used to "quote" what you are thinking. Because of that, you can't simply say 思ってる with nothing else for "I'm thinking" (for example, as an answer to "why don't you answer me?"), but you can say 考えてる.

彼がわがままだと思う。 - "I think he's selfish" - You can only use 思う here, because it is quoting what you are thinking. (by the way, the article と is used more often than not when using 思う. One situation in which you wouldn't use it is something like 私もそう思う! ["I think so too!"])

この前話した件なんだけど、まだ考えてる。 - "About that thing we talked about before, I'm still thinking" - This one can only use 考える. If you were to change it to 思う, it would mean "I still think that way / my opinion hasn't changed"... but it might sound a bit unnatural.

In some situations either can be inserted, but the meaning changes drastically:

今年日本に行こうと考えてる。 - "I'm thinking about going to Japan this year" - Your mind is not yet made up, and you are thinking about if you can afford it, if you can get the time off work, if you really want to go, etc.

今年日本に行こうと思ってる。 - "I'm thinking I will go to Japan this year" - Your mind is already made up, and you are planning on going.


If you can think of any other situations you are confused about, please post and I'd be happy to explain the difference.
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby Kurious » Mon 11.09.2009 9:03 am

Good stuff. Thanks for the clear posts, they're useful to me.

I kind of used to think, like Sairana, that 思う is more shallow. However, the last example shows differently:

keatonatron wrote:考える means to think, as in contemplate, decide, weigh [the options, consequences].

...

今年日本に行こうと考えてる。 - "I'm thinking about going to Japan this year" - Your mind is not yet made up, and you are thinking about if you can afford it, if you can get the time off work, if you really want to go, etc.

今年日本に行こうと思ってる。 - "I'm thinking I will go to Japan this year" - Your mind is already made up, and you are planning on going.


I get then, that 思う can be used for when one has made up one's mind (akin to 決心する), and for quoting. The "I think so too!" example was very useful too. But what if I just thought up of the idea of going to Japan this year? Considering that 考える relates to contemplate, decide, weigh; and 思う to make up one's mind... would I use だろう or かもしれない in this case?

I thought about something else just now. If I have made a decision, why would I use 思う ("to think") at all? Can't I just say 「今年日本に行こう。」or 「今年日本に行こうと決心した。」 ?

Also, suppose that I'm performing some lengthy computation in my mind (perhaps a long math exercise given by a professor). I'm not really evaluating options, I'm just running my mind through lengthy procedure. Would I use 考える in this case?

Thank you very much.
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby keatonatron » Mon 11.09.2009 9:22 am

Kurious wrote:I get then, that 思う can be used for when one has made up one's mind (akin to 決心する)


But make sure you remember that 思う is not an event like 決心する, it's more a state of being. 決心しました would be "I decided" whereas 思った would be "I thought [so]" (kind of close to "I was thinking", actually).

Considering that 考える relates to contemplate, decide, weigh; and 思う to make up one's mind... would I use だろう or かもしれない in this case?


だろう is for predicting something. 今年日本に行くだろう would be something like "We'll probably go to Japan this year" (in the sense of "I predict we will go", not so much in the sense of "we've been talking about it and we'll probably go")

かもしれない just means "maybe" or "perhaps". 今年日本に行くかもしれない means "We might go to Japan this year".

What relation did you think these have with 思う and 考える?

I thought about something else just now. If I have made a decision, why would I use 思う ("to think") at all? Can't I just say 「今年日本に行こう。」or 「今年日本に行こうと決心した。」 ?


It doesn't literally mean to make a decision, it means to show what you think/thought.

今年日本に行こう just means "I'll go to Japan this year" or "Let's go to Japan this year".
Add と思ってる on the end, and you get "I'm planning on going to Japan this year" or "I'm thinking of going to Japan this year". Certainly you can see the difference in these English sentences.


Also, suppose that I'm performing some lengthy computation in my mind (perhaps a long math exercise given by a professor). I'm not really evaluating options, I'm just running my mind through lengthy procedure. Would I use 考える in this case?


Yes. I think you can just simplify it to: 考える means "to think", while 思う means "to think [something]" and requires you to say what it is you are thinking. Even indirect quotes (I'm thinking about a math problem) will use 考える in most all situations. 思う can only use direct quotes (I think this problem is hard = I think "this problem is hard")
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby spin13 » Mon 11.09.2009 10:24 am

keatonatron wrote:What relation did you think [だろう and かもしれない] have with 思う and 考える?

As keatonatron said, だろう and かもしれない are different from 思う and 考える. One note, however, is that while だろうと思う is a valid construction, かもしれないと思う is not. More info here.

Kurious wrote:But what if I just thought up of the idea of going to Japan this year?

In addition to completely unrelated temporal expressions (したばかり, etc.) there are also compound verbs that add a variety of nuances to the basics. Below are a few of the more common compounds. In some cases, some of the following might be appropriate to express what you are looking for:

思う、思い出す、思い付く、思い当たる、思い浮かべる
考える、考え出す、考え付く、考え込む

Though a few overlap (思い付く、考え付く) some are quite different. Compounds like 思い当たる and 考え込む, however, serve to highlight some of the differences between the base verbs.
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Re: Thoughts and conjectures

Postby Kurious » Mon 11.09.2009 12:15 pm

spin13, thanks for the link. I'm happy that I got to the point where I can easily read a bunch of phrases and sentences. Of course, I still need to use the dictionary for the rest. :)

keatonatron wrote:But make sure you remember that 思う is not an event like 決心する, it's more a state of being. 決心しました would be "I decided" whereas 思った would be "I thought [so]" (kind of close to "I was thinking", actually).

Thanks for explaining this.


keatonatron wrote:What relation did you think these have with 思う and 考える?


As I said in the OP, I thought that 思う and だろう were about the same. It turns out that I had correctly understood だろう but not 思う. I was wondering if 思う was the same as かもしれない instead, or some other thing.

I understand now!

ありがとうございましゃた
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