In the song Lose Yourself by Eminem (which is by the way one of my favourite songs of all time), at the end he says:

You can do anything you set your mind to, man.

Why do we need the "to" after "mind"? Note that I have understood the meaning of the sentence, but not the whole construction.

  • The phrase is typically "...set your mind to". Is the "in" really part of the lyric? Answer: Imagine it ends with the word "do" which is elided in the construction.
    – shawnt00
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 18:16
  • @shawnt00 You're right. There's no in.
    – Schwale
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


"You can do anything you set your mind to,"

is a well known idiom in English (and has thus become something of a cliche). There is no good reason to deconstruct it, but you can see why the "to" is needed if you say it this way,

"People can do anything to which they set their minds,"

but that still leaves the question, "What does 'set their minds' mean?" So another way of saying this would be,

"If you focus your mind on something, then you can achieve it."

I hope this helps.

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