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adjective as a noun

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by onstage, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. onstage Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish, Argentina
    Hi! I was wondering whether it´d be possible to use an adjective as a noun in an informal context, as in:

    la hábil paga (referring to the right hand, previously mentioned)
    the skillful pays (without "one" after skillful)

    could anyone tell me if this (seemingly wrong) structure could be used? Thanks!!
     
  2. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Not in English, I think.
     
  3. BillabongNY89 Junior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Yo diría que no, tendrías que decir the skillful one pays
     
  4. on a rose

    on a rose Senior Member

    Sí se puede, absolutamente! De hecho, se hace más que en inglés. Por ejemplo, en castellano se diría "Dónde está la flaca?" Lo que no traduce muy bien a inglés...sería algo como "Where is the skinny girl?"...pero nunca se diría "Where is the skinny?"
     
  5. onstage Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish, Argentina
    Thanks everybody.
    In a rose, I didn´t get it right. you said it IS possible but then in your example you say it is NOT, or so I understood? i got a bit confused.
    could you explain that to me? saludos!!
     
  6. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    You can use some adjectives as nouns, but not all. For instance, you can say:

    The wise listen to their parents.
    The wicked listen to the devil.
    The hungry are rarely fussy.

    But "the skillful pay(s)" doesn't sound very good. I don't think I can give you a general rule.
     
  7. onstage Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish, Argentina
    Thanks for everything. I knew what you just said (but you confirmed it), I had the doubt whether you could also say my example as an informal thing. But I guess I must stick to what I´ve always known. You are very kind! gracias a todos.
     
  8. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    As a postscript, when you use "the wise" or a similar construction it is understood as a plural and takes a plural verb. To use it with a singular verb you'd have to say "the wise one" or "the one who is wise."
     
  9. onstage Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish, Argentina
    :thumbsup: thanks!
     
  10. Mr. Bear Senior Member

    San Bernardino, CA
    English/U.S.
    Hi! I was wondering whether it´d be possible to use an adjective as a noun in an informal context, as in:

    la hábil paga (referring to the right hand, previously mentioned)
    the skillful pays (without "one" after skillful)

    could anyone tell me if this (seemingly wrong) structure could be used? Thanks!!


    In English, "the skillful" would be a plural, so you would have to say, "The skillful (ones) pay."

    It would be a general statement, referring to "the skillful" as a group. Otherwise, if you meant one particular person who was skillful, then it would be "The skillful one pays." You would have to include the word "one" whereas in the other example, the plural word "ones" can be included or not. It's implied even if not spoken.
     
  11. onstage Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish, Argentina
    clear as day. thanks a lot!
     
  12. on a rose

    on a rose Senior Member

    Woooops!! Sorry, I completely read you wrong, and was under the impression you were an English speaker wondering if you could use adjectives as nouns in Spanish! So please, totally disregard my comment :eek: Listen to Chris K, who gives the most clarifying answer. It seems that this can be done in English if it refers to a population of people--I can't think of an example in the singular form.
    "The sick ARE unhappy"
    The homeless ARE cold at night"
    "The prosperous ARE few"
    "The needy DON'T get enough assistance"
    Sorry for the confusion!
     

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