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As I understand it, dommage is a masculine noun. If something is a pity, one says "c'est dommage," but I find myself wondering why there isn't an article following the verb: "c'est un dommage." Is there a grammatical reason for why this is, or should I just accept it as just the way it is?

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C'est dommage est une expression figée.
Le nom dommage peut avoir le sens de préjudice fait à quelqu'un/quelque chose ou de dégât causés. Dans ce cas, c'est un nom comme les autres.
Mais on le trouve dans de nombreuses expressions figées dans lesquelles il est toujours au singulier, avec pour sens chose regrettable, désagréable comme dans Quel dommage !, C'est bien dommage !, mais aussi Dommage que (Dommage qu'il ne soit pas venu) considéré comme familier par quelques âmes chagrines.
NB: on peut lire "Quels dommages !", il n'y a pas de faute, mais dans ce cas là, c'est bien au sens de dégâts qu'il faut l'entendre.

  • Merci @jcm69. Alors c'est une expression figée! – KGR Jul 13 '17 at 8:19
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You're right that dommage is a masculine noun, but here it helps to think of it as a phrase meaning "too bad." Just as we wouldn't say "it's a too bad" in English, we wouldn't say "c'est un dommage" in French.

Bref, it's good to accept that that's just the way it is. :-)

C'est un dommage does exist, but with a different meaning: "it's an injury / harm," as in c'est un dommage auquel on ne peut remédier.

  • Yes, too bad. That's it ! Bad luck peut-être. +1. – jcm69 Jul 12 '17 at 20:08
  • Thanks for your help! I was thinking of un dommage like "a pity", so the phrase "it's a pity" kept sticking in my mind, in which case we do use an article. I just a just need to reconceptualize "too bad" as a noun rather than an adverbial phrase. I am learning that when learning French, "just accept it" is a common rule of thumb. :-) – KGR Jul 13 '17 at 8:14

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