Italian Phrase: Non mi viene in mente. (I can’t remember.)

Have you ever had someone ask you a question, only to blank out completely even though you know the answer? I know I have!

If you’re faced with this situation in Italian, you can always fall back on the response « Non mi ricordo » which quite literally means « I can’t remember ».

However if you are keen on trying something a little more idiomatic, you can also say:

Non mi viene in mente.

I can’t remember.
(Literally: It doesn’t come to my mind.)

  • Non mi viene in mente il nome del paese. = I can’t remember the name of the town.
  • Non mi viene mai in mente di chiedertelo. = I never remember to ask you.

It comes from the affirmative expression venire in mente which means to occur to, to come to mind or to recall.

If you add the pronouns niente or nulla (nothing) onto the end of non mi viene in mente, the meaning becomes « I can’t think of anything » or « Nothing comes to mind ».

Non mi viene in mente niente.

I can’t think of anything.
Nothing comes to mind.

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