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I want to say something about parenthood being constructed in our culture as the thing that allows one to enter adult society. Could I say parenthood is an entrance ticket to adult society? Would a native English speaker say that?

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Your title doesn't really express your question. You want to know if "entrance ticket" is good English and an appropriate metaphor, but that's not what the title is saying. Since you ask, I think it's clumsy English. –  itsbruce Oct 16 '12 at 21:32
    
What @itsbruce said. But rather than calling it "clumsy English" I'd say it's a strange sentiment in the first place. Far more likely would be something like parenthood is a sign that you have entered adult society. –  FumbleFingers Oct 16 '12 at 22:31
    
1. The primary sense of 'ticket' in AE is a ticket of admission, so 'entrance' is redundant. 2. What FumbleFingers says. –  StoneyB Oct 16 '12 at 23:22
    
Just thinking...parenthood could be called an E-ticket to adulthood. Now antiquated, of course, but the reference is to the most exhilerating ticket from the Disneyland/World ticket package. –  Kristina Lopez Oct 17 '12 at 2:32
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@KristinaLopez: Not antiquated, it just has a different meaning now. (I use e-tickets every time I fly from my home airport.) That said, I like your parallel between the adventures of Disneyland and parenthood, so, one could say: "Parenthood is your Disneyland gate pass into adulthood." –  J.R. Oct 17 '12 at 8:18

5 Answers 5

I'm not a native speaker - but

In our culture, parenthood is your ticket to adult society

sounds ok to me.

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You might consider

Parenthood gives entrée to adult society

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Ticket is used metaphorically, but in a slightly different sense. Have a look at these examples:

Her husband was her ticket to wealth/power

That song was his ticket to fame

In that sense, it means something analogue to Willy Wonka's golden ticket. A lucky find that brings something positive/profitable.

From what I understand from your question, you mean entrance quite literally, entering into adulthood in this specific case. Right?

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What you have said doesn't sound silly to a native speaker, but I think something like

Parenthood is a gateway to adult society

might sound better.

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I like doorway even better than gateway. I'd probably say it like this: Parenthood is a doorway into adulthood. –  J.R. Oct 16 '12 at 21:38
    
@J.R. They seem to be roughly equivalent, so it's probably a matter of personal taste. –  Alan Gee Oct 16 '12 at 21:59
    
Alan: gateway often means the first of several successive steps – sometimes negatively, or in the wrong direction, as in gateway drug. For that reason, I think some might regard gateway a bit differently than doorway. In this case, though, that subtle difference could work to the speaker's advantage, maybe even making the statement sound a bit more comical: first, it's buying diapers and strollers; minivans and PTA meetings are just around the corner! Ultimately, though, I agree with you – there's wiggle room on either side. I just wanted to offer an alternative. –  J.R. Oct 16 '12 at 22:51

It sounds like you're trying to come up with a metaphor that suggests a transition into adulthood – something like a coming-of-age experience, only at the adult level.

You've proposed ticket. I don't mind ticket, although I think entrance ticket sounds awkward and redundant. But ticket on its own works just fine:

Parenthood is your ticket into adult society.

Besides ticket, you could also use doorway or gateway (as Alan proposed). Other words that might work include:

  • on-ramp
  • bridge
  • first step

All of these can be used metaphorically, for example:

“Summer jobs provide young people a critical on-ramp to the road towards responsibility, community, work ethic, stability and economic self-sufficiency.” 1

“Natural gas is the bridge into a low carbon world.” 2


S O U R C E S

1 The Huffington Post: Jon Bon Jovi: Going All in For All Youth. Quote taken from Wordnik.
2 Trond Giske, as quoted in the Taipei Times.

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