Which one is proper English:

Come/spring to mind Or Come/spring to your mind?

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English clearly states that possessive adjectives should not be used.

1 Answer 1


Longman is generally correct. "Spring to mind" can be used whether the speaker is talking about their own mind, or someone else's.

"Does anything spring to mind?" (The mind of the addressee is understood.)

"Nothing springs to mind." (The mind of the speaker is understood.)

The alternative is far less frequent, but does still occur. I notice that most recent example in the OED is this:

1991 G. Carey I Believe (BNC) 74 Let me tell you of the images that spring to my mind when we talk about water.

I would say based on historical and current practice, that it is best to follow Longman's advice and avoid the personal pronouns. If the meaning of the phrase is ambiguous in a particular context without the personal pronouns, I'd consider eliminating the phrase before using the pronoun.

  • Many thanks "frances" for your explanation.
    – M.N
    May 1, 2014 at 4:19

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