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    #1

    adjectives used as nouns

    Which are correct (the meanings have been given in parentheses):

    1-There is good in everything.
    2-There is a good in everything.
    (Everything has a good side.)


    3-There are good and bad in all countries.
    (There are good and bad people in all countries.)

    4-There are good in all countries.
    (There are good people in all countries.)

    5-There are kind and unkind in all counries.
    (There are kind and unkind people in all countries.)

    6-There are kind in all countries.
    (There are kind people in all countries.)
    "6" does not sound correct to me, but "5" does ("kind and unkind; "young and old", etc. I think the "and" makes the difference.) I can't make up my mind about "4" at all.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    Adjectives used as nouns are called substantive adjectives. Not all adjectives can be so used. Which adjectives can be used as nouns is one kind of idiomatic knowledge. You just have to listen and read. There is no other way to learn this.

    1-There is good in everything. Correct
    2-There is a good in everything. Incorrect
    (Everything has a good side.)

    3-There are good and bad in all countries.
    (There are good and bad people in all countries.)
    4-There are good in all countries.
    (There are good people in all countries.) Both incorrect. Good and bad are abstract ideas, not qualities of people.

    5-There are kind and unkind in all countries.
    (There are kind and unkind people in all countries.)
    6-There are kind in all countries.
    (There are kind people in all countries.)
    Both incorrect. Kind and unkind are not used as substantives.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    In some languages, the + adjective can mean The + adjective people. Most adjectives cannot be used without a following noun in this way in English, though there are a small number that can. These include blind, elderly, poor, rich, unemployed, young.

    The goverment must do more to help the elderly.

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    #4

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    Thanks a lot to both of you.

    The problem here is not the adjective. It is the lack of the definite article.

    The brave die young.
    The kind pay a heavy price.
    The good die young.
    The young die good.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    The problem here is not the adjective. It is the lack of the definite article.

    The brave die young.
    It's not just the definite article, but general usage. While we might be abe to say after the death of an elderly, friendly person, '"The friendly live long lives", we would not normally say, "The government must do more to support the friendly." I did not intend my words in post #3 to sound like a rule, but my advice would be not to use the + adjective meaningThe + adjective people except with adjectives that you have heard used this way.

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    #6

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Which are correct (the meanings have been given in parentheses):

    1-There is good in everything.
    2-There is a good in everything.
    (Everything has a good side.)


    3-There are good and bad in all countries.
    (There are good and bad people in all countries.)

    4-There are good in all countries.
    (There are good people in all countries.)

    5-There are kind and unkind in all counries.
    (There are kind and unkind people in all countries.)

    6-There are kind in all countries.
    (There are kind people in all countries.)
    "6" does not sound correct to me, but "5" does ("kind and unkind; "young and old", etc. I think the "and" makes the difference.) I can't make up my mind about "4" at all.
    Only #1 is possible.

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    #7

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It's not just the definite article, but general usage. While we might be abe to say after the death of an elderly, friendly person, '"The friendly live long lives", we would not normally say, "The government must do more to support the friendly." I did not intend my words in post #3 to sound like a rule, but my advice would be not to use the + adjective meaningThe + adjective people except with adjectives that you have heard used this way.
    Thanks again. You are right. That sentence does sound strange. In any case, when it comes to speaking or writing in English I do my best to play it safe, so generally I put the "people" in.

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    #8

    Re: adjectives used as nouns

    A brief addendum: in principle, any qualitative (i.e. non-determinative) adjective may function nominally, but only when preceded by the definite article.

    As for semantics, although most commonly taken as denoting 'people', adjectival nouns may at times, depending on sense/context, take other referents, as in e.g. 'making the impossible possible' (=impossible things).

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