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    #1

    curious about the word "same"

    I've noticed that even though it is common to hear people say
    "they are equal"
    no one says
    "they are same"
    its always "they are the same"

    it seems like the word "same" is always accompanied by "the"

    even though both "equal" and "same" are adjectives

    can somebody explain how they differ?

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    #2

    Re: curious about the word "same"

    An adjective is not (normally) preceded by a determiner. Determiners hinge on nouns. This forces me to think there has to be something that we can't see in

    They are the same.

    Moreover, if 'the same' is an adjective phrase, we can put 'very' in front of it like this and get a grammatical sentence:

    They are very the same.

    However,

    They are the very same.

    The fact that we can insert 'very' between 'the' and 'same' gives me the idea that 'the' is not so much attached to 'same' as to something else. Probably a covert noun head is there.

    '(T)he same' is not an AdjP. It is a pro-noun-phrase or a noun-phrase whose head is cut off (apparently missing).
    Last edited by corum; 28-Nov-2010 at 10:34.

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    #3

    Re: curious about the word "same"

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    An adjective is not (normally) preceded by a determiner.
    This is a different story:

    The poor are getting poorer.

    Adjectives which can premodify personal nouns (the young people) can be noun-phrase heads (the young) with plural and generic reference denoting classes, categories, or types of people.

    Notice that these adjectives are restricted to generic reference and take plural concord. Hence, the poor cannot denote one person. It is often possible to add a general word for human beings such aspeople and retain the generic reference, in which case the definite determiner is normally omitted (eg: old people), but the use of the adjective as head of the noun phrase (eg: the old) is also common. We must distinguish the noun phrases from cases of textual ellipsis:
    The young students found the course difficult, the older found it easy.
    Here, the older is elliptical for the older students

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