Can anyone tell me why an article is left out before the expression "rock bottom" despite the word "bottom" being a countable noun? For example:

My sport career has fallen down to rock bottom.

Would it not be better to insert the article a?

  • I would just say it's just an idiomatic usage of the phrase. – user178049 Sep 5 '17 at 9:59

I believe it is just an idiomatic usage.

Also, we usually hit rock bottom:

After that, my career hit rock bottom.

Taking a more literal approach, you could look at bottom, but

I was at the bottom of the river of my life.

but then the article is back. So I don't believe a literal explanation will suffice.

| improve this answer | |
  • I tried to think of another expression that behaved similarly – such as dead center – except articles are often used with dead center, more so than with rock bottom. This is a thorny question, no doubt! – J.R. Sep 5 '17 at 17:54
  • Also idiomatic, if you're describing its current state, would be to say "My career is at rock bottom." – msouth Jun 28 '19 at 15:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.