I wonder if I can use the following sentence.

It is so pity that you cannot join us now.

I know the causal usage is " it's a pity" or "it is such a pity that...", but is it also correct and casual to use "so" before pity as if it is a "so-that" structure?

  • 5
    "So pity" sounds like Doge to me because, as the answers explain, pity doesn't have a degree. very grammar. much confuse. wow, English. ;) I hope the article I linked explaining how to create Doge phrases will be helpful in understanding how so, much, many, et. al. are used in English (and maybe be interesting at the same time). I would probably say "It's so unfortunate" or "It's so sad" if I didn't want to use "such a pity".
    – ColleenV
    Dec 17, 2016 at 19:48
  • 2
    Pitiful is an adjective, but "It is so pitiful that you..." has a different meaning and is a bit insulting.
    – stannius
    Dec 17, 2016 at 20:38
  • 2
    @stannius There's also 'pitiable' - which is a little bit better to my ear, but really isn't an improvement on the idiomatic 'it is such a pity ...' at all
    – Au101
    Dec 18, 2016 at 0:22
  • You could say "so pitiful", but it would come off as mean or condescending.
    – AAM111
    Dec 18, 2016 at 3:45

4 Answers 4


Used in this context, so is an adverb of degree, meaning very, extremely, or to such a degree. Adverbs of degree are used to qualify adjectives- so good, so nice, etc., or other adverbs- so nicely.

pity is a noun: you cannot use an adverb to qualify a noun. You need to use a predeterminer + determiner sequence like such a to qualify a noun.


Pity is not usually used as an adjective. It can be used as a noun (as in your examples), or also as a verb ("I pity you").

Probably the best way to say what you want to say is "It is such a pity that you cannot join us now". Don't ask me why that is correct though :)

  • 1
    The right answer, but i would add that point out that a native speaker would never say "It's so pity that ...".
    – mobileink
    Dec 17, 2016 at 20:40

You can use it that way. And it will probably be understood. But only AFTER getting over the fact that it is NOT conventional native usage. It very much marks the sentence as being constructed by a non-English speaker.

Others have given several technical explanations of why it is not proper English usage.


We use pity as a noun or a verb but not an adjective. So is used before adjectives. You should not say:

*You are so boy.

This is ungrammatical because boy is a noun, not an adjective. The same is true of pity:

*It is so pity that you cannot join us now.

Since pity is not an adjective, this too is ungrammatical.

Instead of saying so boy, form an adjective from boy and say boyish. It would be correct to say:

You are so boyish.

In the same way, form an adjective from pity and say pitiful. It would be correct to say:

It is so pitiful that you cannot join us now.

In this answer, the * symbol marks an utterance as ungrammatical.

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