Adjectives Used Without Nouns

Adjectives are not normally used without nouns.

  • He is a clever boy (NOT He is a clever.)
  • She is a beautiful girl. (NOT She is a beautiful.)

There are, however, some exceptions.

The + adjective is often used to talk about certain well known groups of people. The common expressions of this kind are: the blind, the deaf, the rich, the poor, the disabled, the jobless, the young etc.

  • The Government should pay attention to the problems of the poor.
  • The disabled are God’s special children.
  • He is collecting money for the blind.

Points to be noted

1. The above expressions are always plural: the blind means all blind people and the dead means all dead people or the dead people.

2. However, a few fixed phrases like the accused, the deceased, the former etc., can have a singular meaning as well.

  • The accused was sent on bail.
  • The deceased is survived by his wife and children. (singular)
  • The deceased include four women and three children. (plural)

3. Adjectives are not normally used in this way without the. However, adjectives without the can be used after possessives, certain quantifiers (many and more), and in paired structures with and or or.

  • Both rich and poor are God’s children. (NOT Both the rich and the poor…)

4. These expressions cannot be used with a possessive ‘s.

  • The problems of the poor must be properly addressed. (NOT The poor’s problems…)
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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