Please suppose someone who has had lots of difficulties in his life and has passed many problems so far. Someone who had been without money, food and even a home to live in for a long time and as the saying goes a destitute one at the real meaning of the word. He has gained lots f success because of hardworking during the last several years and he is over the hump at the time being and at the time he is talking about his past to someone who is going to know about his past and he is telling to that individual about his hard times in the past. Which one of the following sentences sounds more natural to you:

  • I had a lot of hard times in my life.

  • I have gone through a lot of hard times in my life.

  • I have had a lot of difficulties in my life.

  • I have suffered a lot of hardships in my life.

Please let me know if they all sound weird to you and then tell me what shall I use instead in normal English?

1 Answer 1


They have been through hard times.

They are going through hard times.

are common ways of saying it.

Most likely, if the phrase has "suffered" and "hardships" in it, it will also have "many", not "a lot of":

She has suffered many hardships.

  • Thank you very much TRomano, but now knowing the most common ways to say it, could you please tell me if my sentences are idiomatic. Are they natural too @TRomano? Especially # 2.
    – A-friend
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 15:47
  • 1
    They are all idiomatic except perhaps with the last one, where to my ear there is a slight register clash. #2 strikes my ear as idiomatic but a little awkward with "a lot of".
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 15:53
  • Then please let me know changing it in this way: "I have gone through many hard times in my life" it would sound awkward an d unnatural again @TRomano? And Also "I had many hard times in my life". And perhaps "I have had many difficulties in my life"
    – A-friend
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:00
  • 1
    hard times most often is used in terse, laconic, even understated utterances, and is rarely if ever modified with "a lot of" or "many". You might hear He has gone through some very hard times. Ngram would seem to corroborate this: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:05
  • 1
    #3, difficulties is OK with "a lot of" or "many". But I still prefer many. books.google.com/ngrams/… But a lot of people would say "a lot of".
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:09

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