Many Japanese words have the same English translation but different connotation. 「考える」(Kangaeru) and「思う」(Omou) are one of such Japanese words and both are translated as “To think”. These words can also be translated as “To consider”, “To suppose”, “To guess” and “To imagine”. 「考える」and「思う」are probably one of the most used verbs in the daily conversation as well as in a business situation. You may choose which word to use depending on the situation or to avoid using the same words again and again. It is important to understand the difference properly and choose the one that is most suitable for the scene.
考える is defined as “to make a logical judgement”. 考える is a verb that is often spoken from a more objective perspective compared to 思う. This is effective when you want to make your speech more convincing or give a strong impression.
Definition of 「思う」(Omou)
思う is defined as to make an emotional judgement. While 考える is thinking from an objective perspective, 思う represents a more subjective imagination. 思う is used when you make judgments with your heart, and when you cannot explain logically and reasonably.
考える is thinking that involves intelligence. 考える means making judgments with your head, not your heart. The process of 考える involves drawing conclusions and predicting things with clear reasoning. On the other hand, 思う is thinking that involves feelings and emotions. In the Kanji 思, there is 心 in the bottom. 心 means heart and emotion. This suggests that 思う is used when there are human emotions involved. The word 思う means not only to think but also to make predictions, remember, hope, and wish. The act of 思う does not involve intellectual analysis, but the act of 考える is to use the brain to derive an answer.
How to use「考える」and「思う」
Example sentences of 考える
Jibun ga tadashii to kangaeru
自分が正しいと考える (To think I am correct)
Mondai no kaiketsusaku wo kangaeru
問題の解決策を考える (To think about the solution to the problem)
Syuui no kankyo nado wo kangaeru しゅういのかんきょうなどをかんがえる 周囲の環境などを考える (To think about the surrounding environment)
This word is commonly used when making decisions by analyzing from an intellectual or theoretical perspective. If you use the word 考える, you must be able to clearly explain why you came to that idea.
Example sentences of 思う
Sorosoro kekkon sitaito omotteiru
そろそろ結婚したいと思っている (I am thinking about getting married soon)
Aki ha sabishii kisetsu dato omou
秋は寂しい季節だと思う (To think that autumn is a lonely season)
Kono ketsuron de iito omou
このけつろんでいいとおもう この結論で良いと思う (To think that this is a good conclusion)
This word is commonly used when you judge something emotionally or sensibly. There is no deep meaning or reason, and the word 思う is used to express what you feel as it is.
There are some situations where both 考える and 思う can be used. For example, both sentences あなたのことを思う (anatano koto o omou) and あなたのことを考える (anatano koto o kangaeru) can be translated as “I’m thinking about you” but they have a different undertone When 思う is used, it represents one’s feelings of missing or worrying about the other. Whereas sentence with 考える, it represents one’s being thoughtful about the other person.
Another example sentence is, 留学をしようと考える (ryuugaku shiyouto kangaeru)/留学をしようと思う (ryuugaku shiyouto omou)/I’m thinking about studying abroad. When 考える is used, it means that one has analyzed the obstacles they might face in order to study abroad and thinking about it seriously. However, when it comes to 思う, it just shows one has emotional wanting to study abroad but has not considered seriously yet. The expression is less realistic and has a lighter impression.
This article has focused on the use and the difference between 考える and 思う.
To summarise, 考える: means Thinking with logic and has objectivity whereas 思う: means Thinking with emotion and has subjectivity. Choosing the appropriate verb for the situation is important for smooth communication. It is better to choose a word that suits your purpose, such as "考える" when you seek understanding or trying to convince someone, or "思う" when you want to give a soft impression or trying to share your opinion.