Take for example the adjectives sick and poor (the sick, the poor). In these sentences we easily recognize in them a typical English adjectives:
She was sick with a cold. My family was too poor to afford a car.
What happens to the adjectives in these examples you, probably, also have met?
He gives all his money to the poor.
Doctors care for the sick.
In this case, poor and sick describe groups of individuals with common characteristic (the poor => all poor people, sick people => people suffering from any disease). In such cases, adjectives play the role of nouns and shall take all appropriate functions (to be) in the English sentence. The long history of grammar also proves it. In this post we will consider the cases of such transition English adjectives in the category of nouns:
We are talking about the group as a whole and not about individuals.
You probably guessed that such expressions are abbreviated versions:
the rich people
the poor men
the deaf persons
Yes, that’s one way to look at this group of adjectives. According to this principle, you can use other adjectives as nouns:
the wounded people => the wounded
Adjectives describing abstract events.
The incredible keeps happening to me. – To me all the time crazy things happen.
incredible events => the incredible
unreal situations => the unreal
In such cases, use the article and the predicate is in the singular.
The unreal haunts me in my dreams. – I dream about every weird shit. (literally: Unreal haunts my dreams).
Adjectives denoting languages.
Do you speak English (=> the English language)?
English is an international language.
Chinese is difficult to learn.
In such cases the definite article is not used. The predicate is in the singular.
Adjectives denoting nationality.
When you switch to the category of nouns, adjectives, the data can designate the nation as a whole and individuals of a given nationality. They are always written with a capital letter!
Note that such adjectives that end in-se, do not change their form as singular or plural.
a Japanese –> two Japanese –> the Japanese
Recently prefer the option to describe individuals of a given nationality: a Japanese person more often than a Japanese.
By the way, adjectives ending in -sh and -ch are used in the plural to refer to the nation as a whole. Article the is required:
For individuals of these ethnic groups (-sh, -ch) there are separate nouns:
Here is a small video tutorial:
Adjectives denoting social rank, military rank.
conservatives – conservatives / a conservative – conservative
liberals – the liberals / liberal a liberal
Adjectives indicating color:
greens – any group of objects green
I am back to greens in my daily menu. I returned to a daily menu of salads.
In such cases the definite article is not used, and the verb will be plural.
Adjectives denoting a class of substances / foods.
chemical products => chemicals
green substances => greens
Here is an entertaining journey English adjective nouns in a row!