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  1. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #1

    the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    Hello.

    As I was reading an entry for a word in my dictionary, I came across this example:
    'It's impossible to put a figure on the number of homeless people in London'.
    And I just asked myself a question, what is the difference between homeless people and the homless?
    By the way, it seems to be common case in that we can say the British or British people, the rich or rich people, etc. etc.

    Do you feel any difference between those two forms?

    Thanks, Alex.

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    #2

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    Hi AlexAD,

    "the homeless" => article + noun
    "homeless people" => Adj. + noun

  2. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    May I beg to differ as according to the OALD 'homeless' serves as an adjective.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexAD View Post
    May I beg to differ as according to the OALD 'homeless' serves as an adjective.
    2. (the homeless) noun [pl] people who have no home: helping the homeless.

    OALD(6th edition), 2000

  4. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    I didn't mean the homless, but homeless (without the).

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    #6

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    I think it's best to look at it from the structure.... where the word is used, then you can decide what it is used as. In my answer I am referring to the title of your post.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    When referring to a disability, there is a PC tendency to object to the 'the X' form (on the grounds that it objectifies or excludes or pigeon-holes people so affected. Until the '70s or '80s it was quite normal to hear things like 'action to help the autistic' - today it's always 'action to help autistic people'.

    b

  6. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    So is there any difference regarding the original question?

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    Your original statement could be phrased in two ways:

    It's impossible to put a figure on the number of homeless people in London.
    It's impossible to put a figure on the number of homeless in London.

    You can also say:

    It's impossible to count the homeless in London.
    It's impossible to count the homeless people in London.

    Effectively, they all mean the same. "The homeless" is simply a collective noun for all the homeless people in a city/country or the whole world, depending on the context. If you use "the number of" you can follow it simply with the word "homeless". If you don't use "the number of" then you need to say "the homeless" or "homeless people".

    If I'm honest, I'm not sure that I'm quite clear exactly what your question is.

  8. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: the + Adj. vs Adj. + people

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexAD View Post
    I didn't mean the homless, but homeless (without the).
    So, I don't see why you 'begged to differ'. mxreader's post was short, but to the point.

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