On My Mind vs. In My Mind

On My Mind vs. In My Mind

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”


In this post, we’ll talk about the mind. To be more precise, we’ll talk about what is on our mind and what is in our mind. If you get confused when choosing the preposition, read on…

On my mind

If something is on your mind, it is preoccupying you, and you are actively thinking about it. (To preoccupy is to dominate or engross the mind of someone to the exclusion of other thoughts):

I’ve got something on my mind. – Speak on it.

You’ve been on my mind all day. (= I’ve been thinking about you all day.”

These are the issues that are currently on my mind.

The thing with your father has been on my mind.

That thing is very important. – That’s why it’s on my mind.

In my mind

We say that something is in our mind when want to denote that we are imagining things:

I know you think my love is slipping away, but baby, it’s all in your mind. (from “All in Your Mind” by Mariah Carey) (= it’s all in your head, it’s unreal.)

I’ve played out this fight a thousand times in my mind. (= I’ve imagined myself having this fight.)

I could swear I heard a whistle. And then I figured out that it was in my mind.

Many years have passed, but I can picture it in my mind even now.

There is no doubt in my mind that Tome will win the election. (= I’m absolutely sure he will win.)

If something sticks in your mind/memory, you remember it:

Her angry remarks stuck in my mind for a long time.

It stuck in my mind for some reason.

It’s a description that’s always stuck in my mind.

If something is fresh in your mind, you clearly remember it:

I need to write it down while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Her words are fresh in my mind.

I’d like to take the test soon, while the information is still fresh in my mind.

If you bear/keep something in mind, you remember to consider something when you are thinking about or doing something else:

When you speak to Lee, bear in mind he’s still pretty upset about what happened.

Keep in mind that gas stations are scarce in the remote areas.

Bearing in mind that it’s Christmas, how much do you think the flight will cost?

If you go over something in your mind or turn something over in your mind, you think repeatedly about an event that has happened:

She kept going over the accident again and again in her mind.

Stop turning things over in your mind. This habit can drive you crazy.

It’s like I’ll never stop going over the events in my mind. – Don’t worry, you will, because time heals all wounds.

As you can see, in (one’s) mind is often used in expressions related to remembering and considering.

Now, while the information is still fresh in your mind, please do the test below. The answer key is at the bottom of the page.

Complete the sentences with the right preposition: in or on.

  1. New parents have many worries ___ their minds.
  2. He’s not really ill; it’s all ___ his mind.
  3. Paul has a lot ___ his mind at the moment. Let’s just leave him alone.
  4. I have a friend named Mina who reached out to me ___ my mind.
  5. The swimsuit calendar sticks ___ my mind.
  6. May I say what goes ___ my mind? – Sure. What are you thinking about?
  7. The only thing ___ my mind this evening is you.
  8. I have something buried deep ___ my mind that I must remember.
  9. Who planted this idea ___ your mind?
  10. We’ve sung it a thousand times together ___ my mind.
There’s something on my mind. Is it all in my mind?

Answer key: 1. on 2. in 3. on 4. in 5. in 6. on 7. on 8. in 9. in 10. in

One thought on “On My Mind vs. In My Mind

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