Learning Chinese has a lot of ups and downs.
What always helps is having friends who are experiencing the same things as you, ie. friends with whom you 同甘共苦 (tóng gān gòng kǔ).
同甘共苦 (tóng gān gòng kǔ) basically means to go through thick and thin together, and literally means “to enjoy sweetness together, and undergo suffering together.” You can use it to describe any person – eg. colleague, teammate, family member – who has been through a lot with you.
Essential Chengyu: Through thick and thin
A breakdown of the characters in 同甘共苦 (tóng gān gòng kǔ):
同 (tóng): together (eg. 共同 – gòngtóng)
甘 (gān): sweet
共 (gòng): together (eg. 共同 – gòngtóng)
苦 (kǔ): difficulties or hardships (eg. 吃苦 – chīkǔ – to undergo hardships)
Observing 同甘共苦 (tóng gān gòng kǔ) in the wild reveals 3 main usages.
Usage 1) 同甘共苦+ 的 + Noun
Example 1 A)
“… dài zhe tónggāngòngkǔ de jīngshén shēnrù qúnzhòng “
“… to join the masses with a spirit of sharing both joys and sorrows together“
Example 1 B)
“…tónggāngòngkǔ de tiēxīn péngyǒu…”
“…(my) close friends who’ve been through thick and thin together (with me)…”
Example 1 C)
“tónggāngòngkǔ de píngdàn rìzi…”
“Mundane days when (we) shared both (our) joys and sorrows“
Example 1 D)
“…gǎnxiè měi yī wèi tónggāngòngkǔ de zhànyǒu “
“…(I) thank every comrade who’s been through thick and thin (with me)”
Usage 2) As a Verb
Example 2 A)
“chéngrèn zìjǐ yǒudiǎn wùzhí, bútài kěnéng hé nánrén tónggāngòngkǔ“
“I admit I’m a little bit materialistic, and not that capable of staying with a man through thick and thin“
Example 2 B)
“wèilái de rìzi yǒu kùnnán yě yǒu xǐyuè, wǒmen yídìng huì tónggāngòngkǔ, bùlíbúqì “
“The future holds both challenges and joy – we will definitely stay together through thick and thin“
Example 2 C)
“quánjiārén píng’ān de zài yīqǐ, tónggāngòngkǔ, hǎohǎo shēnghuó “
“Have the whole family safely together, through thick and thin, and living life”
Usage 3) 同甘共苦 + ( 地 ) + Verb
Example 3 A)
“tāmen liǎng gè shì tónggāngòngkǔ zǒu guòlái de “
“The two of them got here by staying together through thick and thin“
Example 3 B)
“yángxiānyì yǔ tóngbàn tónggāngòngkǔ jìnxíng yánfā “
“Yang Xianyi and his companion stayed together through thick and thin while proceeding with their research”
Example 3 C)
“…tónggāngòngkǔ de fènzhàn zài yīxiàn “
“… to fight bravely at the front line through thick and thin“
Questions? Comments? Other chengyu you would like to learn? Let us know!
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