A Chinese expression to comfort people who just failed to achieve something that they’ve tried so hard to get – 有失必有得。

Posted by Grace Feng on May 19, 2013

A Chinese expression to comfort people who just failed to achieve something that they've tried so hard to get - 有失必有得。Life is full of ups and downs, same as learning Chinese. When it comes a time that you need to comfort your friend for not being able to accomplish something despite the great effort he/she had put into, you can use:


有失必有得 yǒushī bì yǒu dé。



有失必有得 yǒushī bì yǒu dé。can also mean “No pain, no gain.”


“Friend, when you lost something (有失 yǒu shī), for sure you just gained something else (必有得 bì yǒu dé)。”

“How so? I just got laid off while a recession is coming.”

“No worries, now you just got some time to yourself to think about what you really want to do in the future. Grab this chance and give your life a fresh restart and recharge.”

The above is an example conversation to help you understand under what circumstances you could use this phrase. Please remember, NEVER use it to comfort people for their loss of loved ones!!

Now let’s have a look at two examples in Chinese:

yǒushī bì yǒu dé, zhège gōngchéng suīrán zuò shībài le, wǒmen què cóng zhōngxué le bùshǎo dōngxi。

有失必有得,这个工程虽然做失败了, 我们却从中学了不少东西。

No pain no gain. Although the project was a failure, we’ve learned a lot from it.


liǎng niánqián wèile zhè fèn gōngzuò tā fàngqì le hěn duō, xiànzài ne, tā shì wǒmen zhōng zuò dé zuìhǎo de yī gè, suǒyǐ yǒushī bì yǒu dé。


She gave up a lot for the sake of this job two years ago, and now she’s the best among us. Therefore no pain no gain.


To switch “” and “”  in 有失必有得 yǒushī bì yǒu dé, it becomes 有得必有失 yǒu dé bì yǒushī。It is often used to advise people to stay cautious and coolheaded when things are going extremely well. This is just the opposite of 有失必有得 yǒushī bì yǒu dé.

Are you clear now? If yes, please practice using them in a Chinese conversation.


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