[Grammar] crossed the line into the criminal

Oceanlike

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I was reading an excerpt from 'Law and Society' by Steven Vago, when I chanced upon this sentence:


'....cyberbullying has now crossed the line into the criminal.'


I don't understand the use of 'criminal' in this sentence. Is it a noun or an adjective? I checked the dictionary and understand that as an adjective, it should be placed before a noun. In this case, 'the criminal' is not a person but more of an area of criminal activities.

Although the sentence sounds right to me, I do not quite understand the use of 'the criminal' in it.

I would appreciate your help in understanding this use.

Thank you.
[h=1][/h]
 

tedmc

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"The criminal" is a noun meaning "matters relating to crime or criminal acts".
 

Matthew Wai

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I checked the dictionary and understand that as an adjective, it should be placed before a noun.
Sometimes 'the + adjective' alone can be used as a noun, as in 'the rich', 'the poor', 'the injured', 'the departed', 'the deceased', and 'the bereaved'.
 

GoesStation

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This can be confusing to learners when the adjective in question is identical to a related noun, as in the quoted text.
 
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