think: ✓ he thinks he’s clever ✗ he thinks to be clever

By | June 11, 2017
think: he thinks (that) he's clever
he thinks to be clever
Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.
L'uomo non è ciò che pensa di essere, e ciò che nasconde.
- Andre Malraux
I think (that) I understand now.
✗ I *think to understand* now.
Penso di capire/aver capito ora.
A very common mistake. Several verbs in English can be followed by the infinitive, such as hope, need and want (for example we can say I hope to see you there, I need to speak to you, I don't want to worry you). However, think, unlike its Italian counterpart pensare, does not usually take an infinitive. It can be followed by a that-clause:
✓ Who do you think you are?
✗ Who do you *think to be*?
Chi pensi di essere?
✓ He thinks he's better than everyone else.
✗ He *thinks to be* better than everyone else.
Crede di essere meglio di tutti gli altri.
✓ I didn't think I'd win.
✗ I didn't *think to win*.
Non pensavo di vincere.
An exception is the past, negative form to express the idea that the possibility of doing something did not enter our mind at a given time.
✓ Sorry. I didn't think to bring any water.
Scusa. Non ho pensato di portare dell'acqua.
Remember, too, the common construction think of doing something, typically in the continuous form, to express a possible action we are considering:
✓ I'm thinking of getting a dog.
✗ I'm *thinking to get* a dog.
Sto pensando di prendere un cane.

Now try the quiz below! There are TEN answers. The pass mark is 90% (9 out of 10). Click on the blue arrows to go to the next or previous question. You can check your answers immediately or when you've finished the quiz.

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