Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

how to use the word mind in English

Do you know what it means when a native speaker says, “what’s on your mind?”

Do you know how the meaning is different when you say “I have ___ in mind”?

Today find out what common, native expressions we use with the word “mind” in English and learn how to use them.

We start with a question from a listener:

Hi dear hosts, could you introduce when you use “in your mind” and when to use “on your mind”?

I heard natives use them both, just not sure if there is any difference between them.

Thank you. Happy Holidays!

-AEE Listener


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#1) To have something in mind:

To be planning something in your head.


A: Want to go out for dinner?

B: Sure. What type of food did you have in mind?


#2) To have something on your mind:

To be contemplating something or ruminating on something.

To be thinking a lot about something.


A: Oh hey you look sad. What’s on your mind?

B: Oh I don’t know. I don’t really want to talk about it.


What’s the difference between the two?

To have something on your mind is more long term and it might come with a sense of being sad or thinking hard about a decision.

To have something in mind is when you are planning something. You are making arrangements.


#3) To keep something in mind:

This means to remember something.

Example: Keep in mind that you need to pick up Sparkey at the vet before they close at 5 pm.


#4) To not mind:

To say that something doesn’t bother you.

The meaning of this can be different in different English-speaking countries.

In Australia they use this phrase to say that they don’t care when they are choosing between two things. In the US we don’t use it that way.

In the US we only use it when we are saying that something doesn’t bother us, not when we are choosing between two things.


Do you have any questions from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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