Adjective -> noun (e.g. "Hodný, zlý a ošklivý")

Discussion in 'Čeština (Czech)' started by Stijn, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Stijn New Member

    Dutch (Belgium)

    I've seen the the movie title "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" translated as "hodný, zlý a ošklivý". Can you just like this take an adjective and use it as a noun?
    It seems rather confusing to me. "Hodný, zlý a ošklivý" seems to suggest that it's about one person who is good, bad and ugly, instead of three different persons. (Well, good and bad in one person is quite a contradiction, but I mean, if you dont look at the meaning of the adjectives, they seem to me to be referring to the same subject.)

    Another example: someone talks about his computer, but in fact he has two computers, an old one and an new one. You want to ask "which computer, the old one or the new one?". Is it right to say "který počítač, nový nebo starý?"
  2. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I haven't seen the film. What do the good, the bad and the ugly refer to? Is it a person or people? Or are they being used as abstract nouns?

    Sure, or you can add ten in front of nový and starý.
  3. Stijn New Member

    Dutch (Belgium)
    They refer to three different persons.
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    No, it doesn't suggest anything like that. It means "hodný člověk, zlý člověk a ošklivý člověk". From the viewpoint of grammar, three adjectives separated by a comma and the conjuntion "a" can refer to the same person/thing or to three different persons/things. In other words, you can't distinguish between "the good, the bad and the ugly" and "good, bad and ugly". In your example, they are obviously three different people but this is what logic tells you, not grammar. For example, one popular fairy tale is called Dlouhý, široký a bystrozraký - three guys although it might as well be one.

    There are many adjectives used as nouns (or, to put it differently, you do not need to add a noun for the sentence to be complete). E.g. sick - nemocný.
    Máme doma nemocnou babičku.
    Myslím, že těžce nemocní by neměli platit za léky.
  5. werrr Senior Member

    No, there is no confusion. The additive conjunction “a” is used to connect parts of identical syntactical function. That means that either all the adjectives are substantivized or none of them. In the latter case the adjectives need something to be in agreement with, hence no confusion.
    If you want to substantivize only one of the adjectives, you have to separate it syntactically from the others:

    hodný (adj.) a zlý (adj.) ošklivý (subst.)
  6. Stijn New Member

    Dutch (Belgium)
    Then what about

    - Jaký je ten muž?
    - Dlouhý, široký a bystrozraký

    I imagine the "Dlouhý, široký a bystrozraký" like this could as well be used as a title for a story about this one man.

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