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anonini's avatar

Is there a word or phrase that sums up this quote?

Asked by anonini (164points) January 24th, 2011

Okay, so I need to write an essay about a book that I read, and the main theme of the book is “you don’t know what have until you lose it”. I want to incorporate that into the title, but obviously it is way too long. Does anyone know any words or phrases that would work well in a title to summurize this quote?

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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Look up:


syz's avatar

Loss. Regret.

WasCy's avatar

An old Swedish proverb:

Too Soon Old; Too Late Smart

Jeruba's avatar

I’m sorry, @anonini, but it sounds to me as if coming up with that language is part of your assignment.

anartist's avatar

Get It While You Can.

@WasCy thought that was a German proverb

WasCy's avatar

I expect that it’s universal, @anartist. When we find extra-galactic life we’ll probably find that they think it’s their expression.

ETpro's avatar

I can’t tink of a single word that captures that concept. That’s no indication there isn’t one. Maybe it’s just that my brain isn’t coughing one up right now. But you can look to other sayings that capture the same thought. In addition to what @WasCy & @anartist offered, and the single words that tpich on it as noted by @syz you can work in other thoughts and proverbs dealing with the same concept. Familiarity breeds contempt touches on why the familiar isn’t appreciated till it is suddenly gone. Then there was the Joni Mitchell song, Big Yellow Taxi. The lyrics of that song go right at the heart of the adage. Then there is mark 6:4 where Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Look for more. Say it multiple ways. Happy writing, but I refuse to write your title for you. Write the essay and the title will flow out of it.

JLeslie's avatar

The Hard Way

Turgid's avatar

I’d say nostalgia or wistfulness, but either imply too much.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Jeruba Doesn’t mean (s)he’s cheating by asking us, or that it’s not a good question. If we tell @anonini a word, have they not learned it just as much?

Nullo's avatar

I’ve submitted essays with titles that were that long, and never been marked down for them (though I did get extensive exhortations to be succinct). Odds are good that you won’t, either. Still, kudos for wanting to tighten up the essay.

I’m feeling melodramatic right now, so I’m going to suggest, “Mayfly’s Lament.”

augustlan's avatar

Paradise Lost

kess's avatar

Wooing of regret

absalom's avatar

What that adage broadly describes is a kind of hindsight, right? You might try the word ‘hindsight’ then, or ‘retrospection’. (Although obviously it won’t be enough for your title.)

Jeruba's avatar

@papayalily, I didn’t call it out as cheating. But having done several of those assignments myself recently, I have to say that boiling the main concepts down to apt titles and choosing good wording for them were part of the thinking process for each of my essays.

If @anonini looks to someone else for help with that part of the work, he or she is missing out on something that this exercise is supposed to teach—something that the instructor obviously thinks the students should be able to do on their own.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Jeruba Not necessarily. The instructor may simply not have the time to teach the skill, and is aware that many students don’t have it, but still has to expect them to have the skill down. I use the same general skill for annotating my textbooks, but I didn’t learn to do it on my own – I had to get a lot of help (some of which was flat-out copying) in order to build that skill. Hell, just today one of my teachers showed us her annotations, and they’ve already helped me figure out how to better my annotations.
There’s very little in life I know how to do that I learned entirely on my own. Almost everything I learned from originally getting help.

ETpro's avatar

@Jeruba & @papayalily You both raise good points. When it comes to creative writing, the Internet is there as a resource for professional writers and it would be rather foolish not to use it. But of course, there is a line in any class where turning to others deprives the student of critical skills. Certainly, posting math problems for an Interent solution will never make a competent mathematician out of anyone. This kind of begs the question, where does that line get drawn.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ETpro I read an article a few months ago (I searched for it for an hour, to no avail) about a teacher who “encourages her students to cheat” – by which she meant that she wants them to look up the homework answers in books, ask parents for help, collaborate with others, etc – things that are all seen by many a teacher as “cheating” but which she sees as teaching valuable skills for learning and utilizing information later on in life, as well as developing skills like asking for help and cooperating with others. I thought it was very interesting.

ETpro's avatar

@papayalily There you go.

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