Example sentence:

Harry stopped finding meaning in life. Not because of illness or a loss; it simply ceased to make sense to him.

I thought X stopped finding meaning in Y was a common construction, so I was shocked to see only 4 results on Google Books.

Maybe it's not a common construction? If so, what's a better alternative?

  • 2
    I always thought it was a common expression as well. We must share a common dialect or something. "X no longer finds meaning in Y" yields 230 results. Sep 30, 2015 at 4:29
  • @Rathony Google normalizes input before searching, number of spaces doesn't matter. Sep 30, 2015 at 4:35
  • @SomethingDark My mother tongue is Spanish. Yours too? Or maybe we just watched the same movie or read the same book.
    – wyc
    Sep 30, 2015 at 4:41
  • @Rathony I just happen to know a bit about search engines. If you see different results with two spaces and with one space, can you provide a side-by-side screenshot? I'm curious. Sep 30, 2015 at 4:42
  • @Rathony Mystery solved: RoseofWords used Google Web, not Google Books - that's why you see more hits without spaces. If you search in the same dataset, queries with one and two spaces always yield same result. Sep 30, 2015 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


It's true, there's only 120 hits on Google for the phrase "stopped finding meaning in" and 4 on Google Books. (Google Books, I will note, is an iffy source, considering the legal disputes and the practical abandonment of the project). However, there are 420 for "no longer found meaning in" (52 in Google Books), 5,650 for "no longer find meaning in" (270 in Google Books) and 29,500 for "don't find meaning in" (519 in Google Books). The idea is common; that specific phrasing is not.

Note: the phrases in quotations are search terms (complete with the quotation marks). I used the regular Google search to get my numbers.

  • Can you please add links to numbers, so that we can see search queries you use? It looks like you have used Google Web, not Google Books. Sep 30, 2015 at 4:52
  • Yes, I have, for the reasons mentioned above. Since it's a simple Google search, I don't think sources are necessary (and the links will be very long); I'll just make a note that the quotations are search terms. Sep 30, 2015 at 4:55

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