Hello :slight_smile:

Does the expression “You’re so pitiful” sound natural to native speakers? I believe it doesn’t but I may be wrong. Actually, I’ve never heard a native speaker say this but I usually hear some of my colleagues say it. They say this to someone who is in a bad situation or when they feel pity or sympathy towards them.What I usually hear native speakers say is “pathetic” instead of “pitiful”. Can you teach me the natural way of saying it?

Thanks :slight_smile:


I think I would use ‘pathetic’, also. ‘Pitiful’ seems to be better with ‘situations’ and ‘incidents’ and similar abstract nouns and doesn’t really work that well with people.


Hi Nie,

Although I agree that ‘pitiful’ is often used to describe ‘situations’ or ‘incidents’, I also hear it used to describe people quite often. In fact, one thing that your question brought immediately to mind was an old Linda Ronstadt song:
Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Besides being used with the linking verb ‘be’, it is often used with the verb ‘look’ to describe people.

However, it seems to me that saying “You are so pitiful” might tend to be used more often in a negative/critical sense. In other words, to express direct disapproval/disappointment about a person’s actions, efforts or behavior.

[size=75]“Men are passionate, men are weak, men are stupid, men are pitiful; to bring to bear on them anything so tremendous as the wrath of God seems strangely inept.” ~ William Somerset Maugham[/size]