Adjectives used as nouns

As you know, adjectives and nouns are different parts of speech. A noun is a word that refers to a person, animal, thing, or idea, and an adjective describes a noun. For example, in the phrase 'a clever boy', 'clever' is an adjective, and 'boy' is a noun.
In English, some adjectives can function as nouns. These are adjectival nouns.

Let’s look at the following examples:
  • I read about the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
  • We provide health care for the poor and elderly.

'The rich', 'the famous', 'the poor', and 'the elderly' are adjectives used as nouns. These expressions mean people considered together as a group. For example, the rich means people who are rich.
As you can see, these nouns are always plural and used with the definite article.

Here are some examples of plural adjectival nouns with their definitions:

The blind
People who…
cannot see
The deaf
cannot hear
The destitute
have no money or possessions
The dead
are no longer alive
The dying
are about to die
The elderly
are old
The faithful
belive in a religion
The homeless
have no home
The injured
have been injured in an accident or attack
The insane
are mentally ill
The jobless
are unemployed
The old
are no longer young
The poor
have little money
The rich
have a lot of money
The sick
are physically or mentally ill
The wealthy
are rich
The wicked
are morally bad
The wounded
are injured by a weapon
The young
have lived for only a short time

Adjectival nouns

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