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Thread: 'It's a shame'

  1. #1
    undeddy is offline Junior Member
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    Default 'It's a shame'

    Hi.

    Doest it mean 'unfortunately' or that you feel ashamed (embarrassed), or, perhaps, it can mean both of these?

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    It's a shame [[a regrettable or unfortunate thing]] that you cannot come to my wedding next month.

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    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    Quote Originally Posted by undeddy View Post
    Hi.

    Doest it mean 'unfortunately' or that you feel ashamed (embarrassed), or, perhaps, it can mean both of these?
    Good question!

    It mean's it's unfortunate, it's too bad, it's regrettable.

    You'll also see: It's a crying shame, it's a bloody shame, and it's a dog-gone shame. They all mean the same thing.

    It does not mean it's embarrassing.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

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    undeddy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    So, 'it's a shame' should be considered as a kind of idiom since the whole meaning differs from separate words?
    'It's a pity', I guess, means the same thing, but which one is more common in usual speech?

    If you use 'It's a shame', does it mean 'I wish I could do sth but I can't'?
    Last edited by undeddy; 13-Feb-2009 at 16:37.

  5. #5
    pyoung is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    Dear undeddy:

    It's a shame he can't make it to your party next week-end.
    It's a shame they can't ever be on time for anything.
    It's a shame the price of food has gone up.
    It's a shame you lost your job.
    It's a shame you lost the race by .0001/second.
    It's a shame their photos albums were lost in the fire.
    It's a shame Bill dumped Sue.

    Please note that It's a shame usually, but not always refers to someone else's problem or behavior.

    I hope this is helpful,

    Petra

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    'It's a shame' can be used to conselate someone who missed an opportunity or wasted a chance. It's not about embarrasment but about regret about the past.

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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    If an idiom is supposed to be a phrase or set of words in which the meaning differs from the individual meanings of the words I'm not sure how "it is a shame" would really be an idiom
    shame definition | Dictionary.com

    a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us.
    This phrase is pretty much used in that manner. To indicate a situation is bringing either disgrace or regret.

    "It is a shame he wasn't smarter so that he could have gotten a scholarship to college"
    It is expressing regret over the situation.

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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    regrettable also means unfortunate,
    regrettable definition | Dictionary.com

    we might use them similarly, but one could also say "It's regretabble you can't stay with us"

    I don't honestly see "it's a shame" being an idiom.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    Quote Originally Posted by crossmr View Post
    If an idiom is supposed to be a phrase or set of words in which the meaning differs from the individual meanings of the words I'm not sure how "it is a shame" would really be an idiom
    shame definition | Dictionary.com

    ...It is expressing regret over the situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by crossmr View Post
    ...
    I don't honestly see "it's a shame" being an idiom.
    By your own definition it is. The word 'shame' on its own doesn't refer to regret. The Dictionary.com definition does not mention misfortune. 'It's a shame' is 'a phrase or set of words in which the meaning differs from the individual meanings of the words'. What am I missing

    b

  10. #10
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'It's a shame'

    I don't see it as an idiom: You can easily diagram it, and the syntax is ordinary. But it's true that the meaning of shame softens when it's used this way, so I'd call it an expression.

    Someone above found this:

    "a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us."

    Not quite. Regret, yes. Disgrace, no.

    "It's a shame the game got rained out."
    "It's a shame you missed the end of the movie."
    "It's a shame your guitar string broke."

    No disgrace there! It really just means:

    - it's too bad.
    - it's unfortunate.
    - it's regrettable.

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