rough/hard times

don_fermin_de_pas

New Member
español (España)
Hi everyone,

...given the rough times we are having due to the current economical situation...

In my English lessons, I wrote "rough times" in the sentence above and I was told to replace it with "hard times". Would you say "rough times" is wrong or just doesn't sound natural here?

Thanks.
 
  • mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hi everyone,

    ...given the rough times we are having due to the current economical situation...

    In my English lessons, I wrote "rough times" in the sentence above and I was told to replace it with "hard times". Would you say "rough times" is wrong or just doesn't sound natural here?

    Thanks.
    Both "hard times" and "rough times" have been used to describe life during economic depressions and recessions, as a search of Google Books will show. "Hard times," however, is used more often today.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    So, not much used... but still correct? even natural?

    Would you native speakers frown upon "rough times"?
    It seems correct enough to me. But on a hunch, I checked the Google Books Ngram viewer for "economic rough times" and "economic hard times" (entering them without the quote marks) using only American English and then only British English, and it turned out that it showed no examples of "economic rough times" when British English was searched.

    So I would be interested in how forum members who speak British English would feel about "rough times" used when speaking of difficult economic times.
     

    don_fermin_de_pas

    New Member
    español (España)
    Ok.

    My teacher is Spanish but he's learnt (and teaches) British English, so maybe there's a BE/AE difference.

    Thank you, mplsray.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'd say hard times myself and I'm not surprised it's more common than rough times in an economc context. But I wouldn't say rough times was wrong. A phrase may still be correct even though no one says it.
    Perhaps rough time(s) has a wider meaning: I had a rough/hard/tough time in the army. The pay was poor, the food was bad, and the sergeant-major was always bulling me.
    You can say hard time when someone makes things difficult for someone else: The boss gave us a hard time yesterday. He wasn't satisfied with anything we did.
    PS I've just heard hard times and tough (sic) times on the radio in an economic context
     
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