could anybody explain why it's said "to keep your mind open" but "to keep an open mind"? I don't understand the reason why the word "open" comes respectively before and after the noun "mind". Why does the word "open" change position? Thx

2 Answers 2


Keep your mind open.

Keep an open mind.

The first sentence concerns the mind of a specific person. The speaker is telling that person how to keep their mind: they should keep it open. "Open" in this sentence is an adverb modifying "keep". A similar sentence might be "Keep the door closed."

The second sentence uses the indefinite article "a" to refer to "a mind" in general. The speaker is telling the person what kind of mind to keep: an open mind. "Open" in this sentence is an adjective modifying "mind". A similar sentence might be "Stay behind closed doors."


Often, when a person disagrees with another, the person who is trying to change the other person’s mind might say, “Well, Keep an open mind.” (I.e., think about it).

Keep your mind open. This might be said in a more general way.

“I do not know if I will be able to complete this class. The material is hard to understand.” To which someone might reply, “Hang in there, study and keep your mind open. You may find that it is not so hard after some time has passed.

I get the sense that the first example is more in relation to a particular subject in a conversation. The latter is more of a general statement. However, I would like to see if anyone disagrees.

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