As native speakers, do you find any difference between the following:

  1. came into my mind
  2. occurred to me
  3. crossed my mind

They all sound the same to me. Does the same apply to you?


All of these are essentially synonymous with "to think (of)". However, the first should be "came to mind" and not "came into my mind".

I know you can't remember the name of the store, but please text me if if comes to mind (= "if you think of it").

"Come to mind" in this context means "remember", but in other contexts it can mean to actively think of something, although usually without knowing what the result will be:

Tell me the first color that comes to (your) mind

Both "cross my mind" and "occur to me" mean that you weren't actively trying to think of something, but you just happened to think of it.

It crossed my mind / occurred to me the other day that it's been 25 years since our trip to Europe.

Other expressions: happen to think of, dawn on me, get (something) into my head, spring to mind, and probably many other colloquialisms

  • Hmm.... but "come into my mind" googles almost 1m results and this: occur to sb — if an idea or a thought occurs to you, it comes into your mind (Longman Phrasal Verbs, 2nd Ed.) VERB + MIND ▪ come into, come to, cross, enter, flash across, flash into, go through, spring to (Oxford Collocations Dictionary 2nd Ed.) – Michael Login Dec 1 '17 at 21:39
  • @MvLog There's nothing wrong with "come into my mind" in the right context, for example, "What should I do if thoughts come into my mind while meditating?" This is the definitive "come into" meaning "enter", not an idiom. – Andrew Dec 1 '17 at 21:53

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