Imagine you are going to ask someone about the source of an idea to do something. Which one of the following sentences does not have a correct structure or construction?

  • Where did you get the idea of your book?
  • How did you come to the idea of writing this book?

When I google the bold verbs above, I receive some hits, but I doubt if they are used in normal English! (Although, they are exactly the way we say in our language.)

Bringing up this question, I need to know whether these verbs are natural and idiomatic or not?

1 Answer 1


Those are both normal verbs in that usage, although a native speaker would probably say, "How did you get the idea for your book," referring to the idea that was used in the book rather than the idea of the book itself.

  • Thank you @geekahedron, just do you mean that substituting the prepositions "of" with "for" in both sentences, makes them natural and more idiomatic and there is nithing wrong with the verbs' usage here?
    – A-friend
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 6:38
  • 1
    It depends whether you want to ask about the idea of the topic of the book (e.g. "What made you decide to write about this particular topic?") or the idea of writing a book itself (e.g. "What made you decide to write a book?"). The "idea for your book" would refer to the topic, and the "idea of your book" is more ambiguous but would more likely refer to the decision to write a book. In the second sentence, however, the "idea of writing" already refers to the decision to write a book, whereas "the idea for writing this book" is awkward. Saying "come to the idea of" is also more idiomatic. Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:20

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