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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?

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  • I would just say it's just an idiomatic usage of the phrase. Sep 5, 2017 at 9:59

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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.

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  • 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, 2017 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, 2019 at 15:29

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