For example, if X was crying because of Y's harsh words to her, but suddenly, and while Y was standing in front of X, X stopped crying and started staring at Y calmly but intensely. Then, Y would become cautious of what possibly has got in X's mind (of thoughts) to suddenly change her behavior.

I think the question would be in this particular structure though not exactly as I don't remember it clearly:

Y to herself: What has gotten in her mind?

her refers to X.

Is it the right question to ask in such situations? Since I think it is a specific question which is asked in those situations, and what I have stated is the right one, but I'm not sure if it expresses the situation precisely.

Note: It is not particular to the pronoun "her", but this is my case so that's why I used it.

P.S. My question has been probably misunderstood to be a request for suggestions to use for similar situations. What I'm actually asking for is a question in that particular structure, but not the one I have stated as it seems wrong.

  • What do you mean by the right question? (There are many different questions that could be asked, all of them grammatical.) And why have you emphasized her in your sentence? May 22, 2019 at 11:01
  • I have added clarification. May 22, 2019 at 11:22
  • 1
    Some additional possibilities: (1) What got into her? (2) What happened? (3) Why did she stop crying? (4) Is she okay? (5) Should I be worried? May 22, 2019 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


What has gotten in her mind?

is not correctly grammatical. A similar but correct and common phrase would be

What has got into her mind?

As Jason Bassford mentioned in a comment, "What has got into her?" is also a common phrase. His other suggested questions are quite natural, but not of a similar form to your example, which i gather is what is wanted.

In fact "What has got into X" or "I don't know what has gotten into X" are very common phrases to indicate unexpected, and probably undesired, behavior of any sort. (X is any noun or pronoun indicating a person or group of people)

  • Thank so much for this answer! Is "got" and "gotten" when they are past participles used interchangeably in this phrase? I want to use the one in the American English form. May 23, 2019 at 11:01
  • 1
    @Tasneem ZH Not quite interchangeably, but I'll need to think how to specify the difference. In any case, the difference is not strictly observed. May 23, 2019 at 12:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .