Adjectives used as Nouns

Adjectives used as Nouns :

An Adjective can be used for a Noun for the sake of shortness. The Noun in this case is sometimes understood and sometimes altogether cancelled.

Examples : Adjectives used as Nouns

1. The Poor…
2. The Sick…
3. In Short…
4. In Brief…
5. On High…

In using a Proper Adjective to denote some language no Article is placed before it and no Noun is expressed.

1. He speaks English, but not Hindi.
2. The grammar of English is simpler than that of Persian.

But it is correct to say….translated from the French.

Participles (Verbal Adjectives) are sometimes used as Nouns in the Plural Number in the same way as ordinary Adjectives are.

1. He came here with all his belongings (=with all things belonging to him - all his goods and chattels).

2. Let by-gones be by-gones (=let past disagreements be forgotten).

There are certain colloquial or idiomatic phrases in which Adjectives go in pairs - some Noun being understood after them.

Adjectives in Pairs

From bad to worse
He is going from bad to worse (from a bad state to a worse one).

The long and short
The long and short (the sum and substance) of the matter is….

In black and white
Let me see it in black and white (in print - written with black ink on white paper).

Through thick and thin
He stood by his friend through thick and thin (under all conditions - difficult or easy).

From first to last = from the beginning to the end
We have to observe him from first to last.

At sixes and sevens = in a state of confusion and disorder
Owing to the strike, everything in the city is at sixes and sevens.

High and low
He searched for his property high and low (in high places and low ones, everywhere, up and down).

Right or wrong
I intend to do this right or wrong (whether the act is right or not).

For better, for worse
She married you for better, for worse (whether your future lot was good or bad).

Fast and loose
He played fast and loose with her emotions (treated her in a very careless way & showed a lack of sincerity and concern for her feelings).

Black and blue
He beat them black and blue (so as to bring out black and blue marks on the skin).

Right and left
He struck out right and left (to this side and that side).

Slow and steady
Slow and steady (patient and steady progress) wins the race.

For good, for good and all = finally, permanently & for all future consequences, good or evil
They have shifted down to Mumbai for good.

Adjectives preceded by THE

When an Adjective is preceded by the Definite Article, it can be used as a Noun in the two senses shown below.

(1) As a Common Noun denoting Persons, only, and usually in a Plural sense…

1. None but the brave (=those men who are brave) deserve the fair.

2. To the pure (=those persons who are pure) all things are pure.

3. The blind receive their sight. The lame walk. The dumb speak. The dead are raised up. To the poor the gospel is preached. (New Testament)

(2) As an Abstract Noun (Singular)

The good = that quality which is good = goodness in general
The beautiful = that quality which is beautiful = beauty in general

All the motions of his nature were towards the true, the natural, the sweet, the gentle. (De Quincey)


  1. The Adjective
  2. An Adjective
  3. Attribute Position of Adjective
  4. Predicative Position of Adjective
  5. Kinds of Adjectives
  6. Proper Adjectives
  7. Descriptive Adjectives
  8. Quantitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quantity )
  9. Qualitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quality )
  10. Numeral Adjectives ( Adjectives of Number )
  11. Definite Numeral Adjectives
  12. Indefinite Numeral Adjectives
  13. Demonstrative Adjectives ( Demonstrative Adjective )
  14. Definite Demonstrative Adjectives
  15. Definite Demonstratives
  16. Indefinite Demonstrative Adjectives
  17. Indefinite Demonstratives
  18. Distributive Adjectives
  19. Interrogative Adjectives
  20. Exclamatory Adjectives
  21. Possessive Adjectives
  22. Possessive Determiners
  23. First Person Possessive Adjectives
  24. Second Person Possessive Adjectives
  25. Third Person Possessive Adjectives
  26. Emphasizing Adjectives
  27. Coordinate Adjectives
  28. Paired Adjectives
  29. Cumulative Adjectives
  30. Non-Coordinate Adjectives
  31. Two Uses of Adjectives
  32. Attributive Use of Adjectives
  33. Predicative Use of Adjectives
  34. The Degrees of Comparison
  35. Comparison of Adjectives
  36. Latin Comparatives of Adjectives
  37. Irregular Comparisons of Adjectives
  38. Formation of Comparatives and Superlatives
  39. Formation of Comparative and Superlative
  40. Uses of Quantitative Adjectives
  41. Uses of Numeral Adjectives
  42. Definite Numeral Quantities
  43. Uses of Demonstrative Adjectives
  44. Uses of Distributive Phrases
  45. Uses of Distributive Adjectives
  46. Example Sentences with suitable Adjectives
  47. Uses of Degrees of Comparison of Adjectives
  48. Uses of Positive Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  49. Uses of Comparative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  50. Uses of Superlative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  51. Use of The Comparative Degree
  52. OTHER after Positives and Comparatives
  53. Preferables in English Grammar
  54. Double Comparatives
  55. Double Superlatives
  56. Comparatives which have lost their force
  57. Latin Comparatives
  58. English Comparatives
  59. Adjectives in Pairs
  60. Adjectives preceded by THE
  61. Position of Adjectives
  62. Adjectives Used Attributively
  63. Adjectives Used Predicatively
  64. The Adjective Clause

Adjectives used as Nouns :

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