Interested in Language
Could anyone make enlightening comments on past participles used as nouns in the plural:
"We drive those undecideds into the arms of the enemy."
A search through the OED gives only 2 results for words ending in "eds", i.e. "undecideds" and "intendeds", this latter example being quite old (Dickens, 1838). Webster's matter-of-factly gives an example with "undecideds" but it seems to be the only instance available of such a use ("Are you still among the undecideds?")
I wonder if it would not be possible to simply write "We drive those undecided into the arms of the enemy" instead of "We drive those undecideds into the arms of the enemy". The use of the plural form seems to be unnecessary and very rare indeed.
Thank you for any answer.
It's pretty unusual to use participles as plurals (i.e. with 's'). In your example, however, I think the word 'those' makes the difference. If I were to write the same sentence using the word 'undecided', I would also change the word 'those' to the word 'the':
"We drive the undecided into the arms of the enemy."