From 标准教程HSK4上(p.124; nearly finished this book!):


I translate this to:

When you're sick, if because of lack of money [you] cannot promptly visit the doctor, your health is not easily ensured, it's best not to say happiness.

I'm uncomfortable with my understanding of the last part of this sentence, which seems quite different to English.

Question: How does 你的健康都难得到保证,就更别说幸福了 work?

To highlight my particular issues:

  • Is 难得到 a set phrase?
  • It seems like 保证 ("guarantee") is being used as an intransitive verb, meaning something different ("ensure") than what I'm accustomed to (e.g. the guarantee of a shopkeeper). I just want to check that I'm reading this correctly.
  • I don't know what is doing in this sentence.
  • 别说 does not seem to mean "don't speak" here. Is it metaphorical?

I think the intended meaning is something like

If you fall sick and don't have money to see a doctor, you can't ensure your health, so you cannot claim to have 幸福.

Where I'll just leave 幸福 untranslated as this nebulous notion of "happiness" and "good fortune".


4 Answers 4


"难得到" is short for "难以得到" (hard to get). It is not a standard phrase


There is a common grammar structure here:

[連 (X) 都 (+ statement) , 更别说 (Y)了]

[even (X) (+ statement) , let alone/ not to mention (Y)]

[even (your health) (cannot be guaranteed/ ensured), let alone/ not to mention (your happiness)]

If your health cannot be guaranteed/ ensured , then it is even less likely that your happiness can be guaranteed

連 is omitted in your sentence

就 can be omitted in your sentence

More example of [連 (X) 都 (+ statement) , 更别说 (Y)了] structure:

連(我)都打不過他, 更别说(你)了

even (I) can't defeat him, let alone (you)

If I can't defeat him, it is even less likely that you can defeat him


如果 由于 缺钱 而 不能 及时 去 看医生[看病]

  • If you cannot visit a doctor due to lacking of money

你的 健康 都 难[以] 得到 保证

  • Your healthy is difficult to be guaranteed. (You cannot guarantee your healthy)
  • 难以: difficult to
  • 得到保证:be guaranteed

更别说 幸福 了

  • let along happinese
  • 更别说:let alone ..., literally "don't even mention"

Here, "就更别说" means "let alone".

"难得到" is not a set phrase. It seems to me that "得到保证" is.

"保证" is still a noun in this sentence (I confirm this with my mom, a high school Chinese teacher in China).


If you give more context, you will get a better translation.

When you are sick,
and you can't go to see a doctor, because you don't have any money,
even your health can't be guaranteed,
never mind talking about happiness.

健康都难得到保证 health even difficult get guarantee

Is 难得到 a set phrase? No.

保证 a guarantee

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