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General Writing and Grammar Help/Get out of one's head, get off one's head & take one's head off of

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Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following expressions is correct and natural: "to get someone/something out of one's head," "to get someone/something off one's head" or "to take one's mind off of someone/something"?

If all three are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

As always, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following expressions is correct and natural: "to get
someone/something out of one's head," "to get someone/something off one's head"
or "to take one's mind off of someone/something"?

If all three are possible, do they have the same meaning?

*** The first and third are good, but NOT the second one.  

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** #1 and #3 are, in most cases, interchangeable.  They are usually used in a situation in which your thoughts are centered on someone or something, and you cannot get that someone or something OUT of your mind.

There's an old song that has the line "I've got you under my skin."  That expression means the same as the example you sent me.

EXAMPLES:

Try as I might, I could not get the picture of the airplanes hitting the World Trade Center out of my head.

When Susan was a child, she was bitten by a savage dog.  Even though she is now an adult, she is unable to take her mind off the childhood incident every time she sees and hears a barking dog.

The man walking down the street was whistling a song.  I have not been able to get that song out of my head ever since I heard him.

Each time Tom tried to take his mind off his upcoming final exams, they reappeared in his thoughts, as if they were ghosts haunting him.

Ted

P. S.  Because of my long absence, Paolo, my examples may not make sense.  I need more practice.  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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