‘It’s never too late’ – Origin, Meaning, Expansion, Importance

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‘It’s never too late’ – Origin, Meaning, Expansion, Importance

Origin of the phrase.

The earliest written form of the proverb, ‘it’s never too late’, is often attested to be in the works of the novelist George Eliot in the late nineteenth century.

However, it is likely that by the time Eliot wrote the proverb down, people had been saying it to each other for centuries.


This proverb, ‘it’s never too late”, means that ‘it does not matter how late it is, a person should always take the opportunity to pursue their goals’. It means that:

  • there is always time to start what we wanted to start,
  • there is always time to pick up again something that we had stopped doing.
  • the present moment is always a great time to follow our dreams.

This proverb encourages us to get to work. It emphasizes on the fact that that a new task can be started anytime and there is no need to waste any further time.

To what does ‘it’ refer, for example? It can be whatever activity the person using the proverb wants it to refer to.


This proverb is often cited as an answer to a complaint: when people complain ‘it is too late to do a thing’, other can reply that ‘it’s never too late’.

The idea of being too late is crucial to this proverb. Too late can be many things. It might mean missing a deadline for school. Or, it might mean getting too old to pursue a certain activity. Often, the idea of what is too late or on time is a subjective one.

The aim of this proverb is to ‘motivate people to begin projects that they had been putting off’. It’s never to late to learn something new. There’s always time to get an education. This proverb can be used to combat ageism.

Often, the phrase ‘it’s never too late’ is often incorporated into a longer phrase. For example, people sometimes say ‘it’s never too late to begin’ or ‘it’s never too late to change your life’.

The importance of this proverb.

1. Motivation: This proverb encourages people to start on their projects and realize their dreams.

2. Uplifting: When people feel despairing, as if they have missed their chance to do something they wanted to do, the proverb ‘it’s never too late’ can uplift them and banish those despairing feelings.

3. Countering prejudice: It is often said that at a certain point in our lives, it is too late to begin some projects. For example, there are those who think that pensioners are too old to go to high school or university or that people who missed out on passing their driving test the first time around have lost their opportunity completely. The proverb ‘it’s never too late’ assures us that, no matter how old we are, we can start anything that we want to!

4. Helping with work stress: In our working lives, we are often hit with deadlines that we cannot always meet. The proverb ‘it’s never too late’ encourages us to believe that it is never too late to salvage a situation.

5. Recovering relationships: This proverb is often cited in a romantic context. It’s never too late to tell the love of our life that we love them or to reconcile after some time apart.


The proverb ‘it’s never too late’ is a positive and encouraging phrase that enables people to live life to the full. If we live by this proverb, rather than feeling like one missed opportunity means that we can never go back and start all over again, we know that it is in our power to begin whatever projects we want to begin – at any time of life. We can apply this proverb to all areas of life, whether in a professional context or in a romantic and personal context.


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