How to Properly Use the Word “Nostalgia” in a Sentence

how to use nostalgia in a sentence

If you are a budding writer or even an expert, using the term “nostalgia” in your writing could at times lead to some confusion. And when you team it with another word, the meaning could change a bit or completely. For instance, the phrase “historical nostalgia” denotes a longing for something that one hasn’t experienced first-hand – which is not what “nostalgia” actually means. 

Since nostalgia deals with cherished times and the people you love, use the word in sentences that focus on recollecting memories of weddings, graduations, childhood, birthdays, family reunions, vacations, holiday dinners, etc. Senior proms, first kisses, college road trips, etc. also are nostalgic.

Keep reading to learn the meaning of the word in greater detail and how to effectively use it in sentences, how not to confuse the term with similar words, peruse a fairly long list of sentences using the word, and lots more.

Nostalgia – Definition 

The word “nostalgia” denotes a personal association with a place or time. It’s usually felt like some blend of pleasure and sadness when one thinks of or gets reminded of past events. The term has roots in Greek and is roughly translated to “homecoming” and “pain”.

woman looks out the window

Contrary to general perception, nostalgia is beyond mere reminiscing. It is an emotional feeling that’s warm and fuzzy. It usually feels bittersweet – predominantly happy and comforting; however, with a modicum of melancholy. 

The recollections from the past are typically related to people loved and cared about, places where one would have lived or traveled to, and important events. A “warm childhood” or the “good old days” are phrases used in nostalgic tones, for instance.

For centuries, nostalgia was believed to be a debilitating and at times fatal medical disorder representing severe homesickness. In the modern world, nostalgia is considered as an independent and also positive emotion many individuals experience often.


What Does Modern Science Say About “Nostalgia”? 

The science on nostalgia usually indicates or studies the feelings toward one’s personal life and the effects on the individual. The sensations “touch” and “smell” are considered strong nostalgia evokers due to the stimuli they create passing via the amygdala, the brain’s emotion center.

Unlike centuries ago, occasional bouts of nostalgia are now linked with multiple functions, which include:

  • Mood improvement
  • Enhanced regard for the self
  • Increased social connectedness
  • A general feeling of life or existence.

Different nostalgic reflections serve varied functions and seem to benefit people in general who experience them. Nostalgia has also been linked with memory consolidation and learning. Although the trigger for nostalgia is usually a negative feeling, the outcome of it all could be an increase in one’s mood and heightened positive emotions. 

Difference Between Nostalgia and Reminiscence 

The notion that “nostalgia” means or has something to do with “homesickness” is not widely accepted. The critics feel the two words do not mean identical things. 

According to them, nostalgia feels nice (predominantly). The word “homesickness”, on the contrary, doesn’t evoke pleasant feelings. Also, unlike “nostalgia” which pertains to time, “homesickness” is pensiveness attached to a tangible structure or the feeling of comfort and warmth a house creates. And, to a great extent, that’s true.

Similarly, “nostalgia” is also not the same as “reminiscence”. To reminisce means “to recollect”. Nostalgia, however, deals with “feelings”. Reminiscing is a more voluntary act; nostalgia is a feeling that hits people based on external stimuli. That said, reminiscing about people, events, and things could lead to nostalgia.

How to Properly Use “Nostalgia” in a Sentence 

Using the word “nostalgia” correctly in a sentence is all about getting the emotion of the word right. A feeling of remorse or grief is not nostalgia. At the same time, complete excitement isn’t nostalgia either. The sentences that incorporate the term should communicate a bittersweet feeling, with the happy emotion overpowering sadness.

There are quite a few alternative words for nostalgia – which include longing, wistfulness, yearning, homesickness, and schmaltz. If you are using the word “nostalgia” far too many times in your texts, you could replace it with any of these words to not come across as redundant.

Most importantly, learn the difference between “nostalgia” and “nostalgic” and how to use them in your texts.

The word “nostalgia” is a noun; “nostalgic” is its adjective form. These words are not interchangeable in a sentence. Though the sentence may read fine with either of the words, using the two words as substitutes for each other could present sentence formation and grammar concerns.

nostalgia definition in a dictionary

For instance, the sentences below sound correct with either of the words in them:

  • When the classic song was played on the radio, Harper felt nostalgia about his childhood.
  • When the classic song was played on the radio, Harper felt nostalgic about his childhood.

Despite not reading/sounding too bad, the sentence with the word “nostalgic” in it is grammatically correct. 

In the following two sentences, it’s not that difficult to discern the apparently wrong grammar: 

  • The senior people shared stories of past occurrences that made them extremely nostalgic. (Correct)
  • The senior people shared stories of past occurrences that made them extremely nostalgia. (Incorrect)

Example Sentences with the Word “Nostalgia” 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of sentences with the word “nostalgia” in them:

  • Some folks experience nostalgia recollecting their schooldays.
  • Hearing that song filled me with nostalgia.
  • The political party is heavily relying on selective nostalgia for strengthening its hold on the locals.
  • By rediscovering the forgotten individual and experience, the scholars infused the place with nostalgia.
  • Pictures of my favorite actors from the past bring on total nostalgia.
  • For the sake of nostalgia, let’s do that one more time!
  • The tale of the country girl evoked some nostalgia.
  • He thoroughly liked the nostalgia the show evoked. 
  • These fashion pieces fill me up with nostalgia for my country’s past.
  • Her charm and magical appeal are beyond pure nostalgia.
  • Many nostalgia buffs happened to attend last year’s event.
  • It would be a nostalgia-fest for the entire family to enjoy.
  • Taking a trip down nostalgia is a great way to sit back and relax.
  • These older ladies buy antique goods for the pure nostalgia attached to the articles.
  • Teenagers are old enough to chalk up a bit of nostalgia.

Here are sentences with the adjective “nostalgic” in them: 

  • Mike grew nostalgic for his family on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Perhaps some members of the family felt nostalgic after moving out of the house they’ve been living in for decades.
  • Penning down words in his friend’s memory actually made the writer feel all nostalgic.
  • The entire country is feeling nostalgic over its gloried past.
  • Although my dad uses the computer, he still gets quite nostalgic whenever he is reminded of his trusty old typewriter.
  • The ballet performance made him nostalgic for his deceased daughter as she was a wonderful dancer too.
  • It’s not wise or even right to feel nostalgic about every other thing in life, as that would slow down the pace with which you’re moving ahead.
  • It’s interesting how film and music could make individuals nostalgic about periods they never witnessed in person or were not actually a part of.
  • Everyone in the house becomes nostalgic about dad when they eat dark chocolate as the chocolate was his favorite dessert.
  • Revisiting the stadium after decades made him nostalgic as he had witnessed many matches live there during his heydays.
  • If you keep becoming nostalgic about your old Kentucky house, your daughter might start to believe you aren’t happy living with her in Chicago.

Is There a Word that Denotes “Longing for the Future”? 

Nostalgia means longing for events and people from the past. The interesting question that arises, however, is whether there is any word that signifies a longing for something yet to occur.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is no such word – at least not in the English language. This is because there is a certain tangibility attached to one’s past. On the other hand, examining, studying, and repeating things that do not exist is next to impossible.

The word that, however, comes somewhere close to expressing feelings attached to the present/future or things not complete yet is “sehnsucht”.

It’s a German word that translates as “desire” or “longing”. Though it’s quite similar in meaning and effect to “nostalgia”, some psychologists incorporate the term in their writings to represent feelings and thoughts pertaining to all imperfect or unfinished facets of life, coupled with a yearning for perfect alternative experiences.

Since the term also encompasses feelings of nostalgia, it’s important to be quite wary of the word’s ambiguity when putting it to use. To be on the safer side of things or be a bit more clear with your message, use the word in phrases such as “sehnsucht of future possibilities” or “sehnsucht of the life ahead”.


red headed woman looking down remembering

Nostalgia is rooted in reliving the grief-stricken or joyous, morose or elated memories. It’s a complex state of mind that not everybody can fully comprehend. This, as a result, leads to confusion when using the word in writing.

Nostalgia is not totally pleasant and also not completely disturbing. It’s a mix between the two – with the happy element having the upper hand.

If you are talking about things that make you feel sad – such as the death of a loved one – you shouldn’t be feeling nostalgic. The sentence “I feel nostalgic when I recollect memories of the day my grandfather died.” is incorrect. However, you can feel nostalgic about the times you spent with your granddad when he was hale and hearty.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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