Coming from German I wonder what the correct idiom is here.

This brought me an idea.


This made me an idea.


This got me an idea.


This gave me an idea.

Well, I guess I could say

This made me think of an idea.

but I wonder what else is possible here.

What would you propose?

  • 2
    You never say - 'this made me idea', unless you, yourself, become an idea. :)
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 6:20
  • Okay ;) But are the other ones valid? Which one is the most usual?
    – Cabbie407
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 6:22
  • 2
    depends on the context... 'this gave me an idea' or 'this made me think of an idea' in general cases.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 6:29
  • 1
    @Cabbie407 Stick with "gave" for past-tense and "gives" for present-tense, as mentioned in the answer. The rest would ultimately be understandable and valid, but would sound very unusual.
    – thanby
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 11:09
  • Another idiom you might be interested in is "Then the idea came to me" Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 14:55

4 Answers 4


"This gave me an idea" is what you're looking for. The others don't quite work, except for the final (slightly awkward sounding) non-idiomatic option at the bottom.

  • 11
    Probably the most common form, depending on context, would be "That gives me an idea."
    – Phil Esra
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 6:47
  • 2
    Or even "This gives me an idea" or "That gave me an idea"... I wouldn't say either is more common except that we may more commonly speak in one tense or another...
    – J...
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:57

If you were going to use brought (which would make sense if the this you're referring to didn't immediately give you the idea, but rather led you through a series of logical steps that resulted in the idea) it would not be uncommon to say "This brought me to the idea of ______" or more commonly "This brought me to _____". This phrase is especially useful when documenting a series of similar events and you don't want to use the same phrase over and over again.

  • 3
    You could also say "this led me to consider..." or "this led me to think of..."
    – skeggse
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 14:57

"This/that gave/gives me an idea" is definitely a good way to go.

Your last example is similar to another common way to say this, which doesn't involved the word 'idea':

That made me think of something.

Which is what I commonly say.

Anything you think of is an idea, so it's not required that you use that word.


imagine that 'This' is someone's name (for instance 'This Johnson'), and an 'Idea' is a brand name for something physical (for example a chair). Then it would be correct to say 'This brought me an Idea'. Otherwise you should be using 'This gave me an idea'

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