essential-chengyu-thick-thin

Essential Chengyu: Through thick and thin

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)

。。。带着同甘共苦的精神深入群众 “

“… dài zhe tónggāngòngkǔ de jīngshén shēnrù qúnzhòng “

“… to join the masses with a spirit of sharing both joys and sorrows together

Example 1 B)

“…同甘共苦的贴心朋友…”

“…tónggāngòngkǔ de tiēxīn péngyǒu…”

“…(my) close friends who’ve been  through thick and thin together (with me)…”

Example 1 C)

同甘共苦的平淡日子…”

tónggāngòngkǔ de píngdàn rìzi…”

“Mundane days when (we) shared both (our) joys and sorrows

Example 1 D)

“…感谢每一位同甘共苦的战友 “

“…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)

承认自己有点物质,不太可能和男人同甘共苦 “

“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)

未来的日子有困难也有喜悦,我们一定会同甘共苦,不离不弃 “

“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)

全家人平安地在一起,同甘共苦,好好生活 “

“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)

他们两个是同甘共苦走过来的 “

“tāmen liǎng gè shì tónggāngòngkǔ zǒu guòlái de “

“The two of them got here by staying together through thick and thin

Example 3 B)

杨仙逸与同伴同甘共苦进行研发 “

“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)

“…同甘共苦地奋战在一线 “

“…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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