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There is a Turkish proverb which says: "even seemingly insignificant things can be of great use some day in the future."

The proverb implies that we shouldn't throw out everything which seems to be useless. Everything has its own value and application and can come in handy at its due time.

There is also an English popular proverb:

  • Every dog has its day.

As far as I am concerned, this saying is used to talk about people rather than stuff.

However, I need to know if it can be used in common everyday speech to talk about stuff?

"Please note that I don't want it to say something in a figurative tone. I would like to know if it sounds natural and idiomatic in this sense if I use it to talk about things, and everyone would understand it."

Example:
a) A couple of days ago, I came second and won a prize at the school's cycling competitions.
b) you kidding!
a) no, I'm serious. And guess what the prize was?
b) What?
a) A professional bike. Last year, when I was going to buy a bicycle, I was short of cash and I had to buy a cheap one which didn't suit training. I don't need it anymore and I am going to throw it away.
b) Don't do that. Every dog has its day.

Does this proverb work here and in this particular sense? If no, then I am wondering if there is a common English saying for that sense.

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    I can't answer the question with quotes and stuff, but it doesn't sound right in normal conversation, if you were trying to be literary and bookish then you could use it. a few phrases I have heard "everything comes in useful eventually", "you will need it tomorrow if you do that"
    – WendyG
    Sep 14, 2022 at 15:06
  • "Every dog has its day" is an idiomatic expression in English and does refer to people. It means you are calling a person a dog, which is supposed to be negative.
    – Lambie
    Sep 14, 2022 at 15:11
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    @Lambie In Britain, at least, you can say 'every dog has its day' to, or about a person, without any suggestion that you are calling them 'a dog'. It just means that everyone will be successful or lucky at some time in their life. It is sometimes used to encourage someone at a time when they are not having any success or luck. I think that this meaning is a very long way from 'even an old bicycle might be useful one day'. Sep 14, 2022 at 15:29
  • What's the Turkish expression, in Turkish please?
    – gotube
    Sep 14, 2022 at 16:15

2 Answers 2

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No, "Every dog has its day" is only ever applied to people, and even figuratively is only applied to dynamic, living things.

The expression suggests the potential that every person has because we are all dynamic individuals. Inanimate objects aren't dynamic in that way, so even figuratively, it's a stretch to apply that expression to things.

The bicycle in this example, although it has moving parts, it's always the same bicycle. It doesn't evolve. It doesn't get stronger or weaker with training. It doesn't have the same kind of performance swings that would allow a normally low-performing human to win a competition once in a while.

However, it makes some sense to apply the expression to a relatively dynamic object, like a piece of computer software or a robot, which, although technically static, has an apparently "dynamic" range of performance possibilities.

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It would be more culturally idiomatic to say "You should donate it. Someone else could use it." Or, to be really culturally-well adjusted: "Why not upcycle it instead?"

Throwing things out is often seen as wasteful. Keeping things one doesn't use or need is often seen as hoarding.

There isn't an equivalent idiomatic proverb that would fit your example. But a simple "You could keep it as a spare. Who knows? It could be useful," would be appropriate and idiomatic.

An old-fashioned related proverb is: "Waste not want not."

To get away with using "every dog has it's day" you'd probably have to anthropomorphize the bike, give it a personality and imply the friend had a relationship to it such that it could be seen as a person they cared about and not just as a mere bicycle.

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  • May I ask you @a101010 for which dialect you are speaking? Also, does the phrasing: "even seemingly insignificant things can be of great use some day in the future sound naturally idiomatic to you? i.e. if you hear it in this context, would you recognize the speakers intention immediately?
    – A-friend
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:48

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