"It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success"

..' According to me it should be "it took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight successful person" or it should be "it took me 17 years and 114 days to get an overnight success" ' for instance we cannot say "to become painting

".., we should rather use "to become a painter"..

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    "to become a successful person overnight" would be the correct way to replace success with successful. to replace become with get, "get a success overnight"... – Konner Rasmussen Apr 16 '14 at 22:06
  • By the way, "an overnight successful person" isn't correct. "Successful" is an adjective, and "overnight" can be an adverb, but it simply isn't used as an adverb to modify an adjective. I don't know why not. There might be some rule that determines what adverbs modify adjectives, but I don't know what it is. I only speak the language, I don't understand it ;-) You could say "... to become successful overnight", so that "overnight" relates to the verb "become". Or a compound adjective "overnight-successful" would make sense, although I don't know that I've ever seen it used. – Steve Jessop Apr 17 '14 at 8:43

There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Here's why:

Bonus - What the quote means:

The person who said this disagrees that he is an "overnight success" by saying that he took a very long time to be successful.

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    Just to add: Success can also be a noun that refers to an idea. "The plan was an overnight success" is also accurate. – David Wilkins Apr 16 '14 at 17:39

Per www.m-w.com, success can be defined as:

someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

Therefore, referring to someone as "a success" is acceptable and grammatical.

Further, "an overnight success" is an idiomatic phrase, referring to someone who has suddenly arrived in the public spotlight and is receiving a lot of positive attention. It seems that one day you've never heard of them, and the next day you cannot avoid seeing them in the news, the talk shows, the gossip magazines, etc.

The quote is pointing out that from the "overnight success's" standpoint, it actually took a very long time, working hard and remaining relatively obscure, before their fame and fortune finally arrived.


,,, but you can say, "It is a beautiful painting." You're falling for the trap of thinking that because you know one definition of the word "success", that that is the only definition, and if that doesn't make sense in context, the sentence must be invalid. If a word looks out of place in a sentence, consider the possibility of alternative definitions of the word before you conclude the sentence is flawed.


Welcome to ELL.

Two valuable inputs so learners like you and me take care of that next time.

Firstly, if you are using according to, it should be in second and third person. In first person, use in my opinion.

Secondly, capital letters sound rough and it seems that the person is shouting.

Now the quote...

It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success - seems incorrect.

Something happening overnight means it took just a night to get happened. In other words, it happens when someone sees the next sunrise! But here, it took quite a long period and undoubtedly the success has come after a lot of hard work. Overnight success is not something that fits here I guess.

But yes, you nailed it right. You become successful and not success.

So, revising the sentence...

It took me 17 years and 114 days to become a successful person.

Good read about the sentence construction is here.

  • You say "You become successful and not success" but based on the original sentence fragment "an overnight success" your sentence should be "You became successful and not a success" which is incorrect - you can be "a success" or "a failure", you can have "success", "successes", "failure", or "failures", and you can be "successful" or "fallible" – David Wilkins Apr 16 '14 at 17:37
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    Agreed about "according to me" (I HATE that expression) and SHOUTING IN CAPS. As for the content of the sentence, the speaker is being sarcastic (or ironic) in saying, "sure, I'm an overnight success. It merely took 17+ years!" In other words, he did NOT succeed overnight. – Phil Perry Apr 16 '14 at 18:09
  • @DavidWilkins You become successful and not success was my way to tell the OP about not using the word success there. Something like Things don't do you but you do things. I din' know I had to explain that also! And I'm completely unaware of I am a success what you think is right. Maybe, I need more homework! – Maulik V Apr 17 '14 at 4:01
  • @PhilPerry I answered the way the sentence looked to me at very first glance. If the speaker wanted to say that in an ironic way, he'd have told exactly what you said there. In fact, putting your sentence in this comment further clarifies that had that sentence be the way you explained, it could have certainly spoken in an ironic way but it's not. – Maulik V Apr 17 '14 at 4:05
  • @MaulikV You must include the article "a/an" for it to be correct. "I am success" is incorrect, where "I am a success" is correct. If you are having trouble understanding articles, this link may be some good homework for you: esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/article.htm – David Wilkins Apr 17 '14 at 13:31

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