For some reason the story captured/caught the imagination of the public (= made them very interested).
It couldn't by any stretch of the imagination be described as a (= it is certainly not a) beautiful city.
- Was it just my imagination or did I hear John's voice in the other room?
- He's one of those people with a very vivid imagination - every time he hears a noise he's convinced it's someone breaking in.
- The American drive to land a man on the Moon captured the imagination of the whole world.
- Her imagination was kindled by the exciting stories her grandmother told her.
- One of poetry's functions is to somehow unlock the imagination.
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