To be in the same boat

in the same boat expression meaning

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This phrase cropped up in a small talk with a shop assistant as we were discussing the tricky situation with jobs and (un)employment. Although I said I was working, the lady seemed incredulous and not at all convinced (maybe it was to do with the fact that I strolled into an empty shop in the middle of the day when all the decent people should be at work, but, well, I’m a freelancer!). Anyway, she used the phrase ‘we are all in the same boat‘ to say that it was tough for everyone, especially the recent graduates.

This phrase emphasizes that the situation people find themselves in is difficult and often unpleasant.

Here are some more examples:

– Everyone I know is in the same boat, struggling to make a living (BBC).

– Even if Britain’s rating fell to AA1, the state is unlikely to be seriously affected because most other countries are in the same boat, and investors have to put their money somewhere (The Guardian).

– While other working-class Dutch are letting their resentment at economic uncertainty drive them into racism and xenophobia, solidarity gives labour-union organisers a paradigm that lets them reach across boundaries and see how workers of different ethnicities and nationalities are fundamentally in the same boat (The Economist).

And here are a few more boat-related idioms from the BBC Learning English website.

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