The dead

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
The following is from The Guardian titled 'Pressure cooker packed with metal' may have been at heart of Boston bombs:
...
The devices exploded at about 2.50pm on Monday, within seconds of each other and 50 metres apart, causing a current casualty toll of 176 injured, 17 critically, and three dead. Two of the dead have been named:...
(1) Is the first "dead" the same as the second one?

(2) It seems to me that "the dead" in "Two of the dead" indicates those particular people who died in this particular incident. If so, is this usage of "the dead" different from that of "the dead" in the following saying?
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
-Marcus Tulius Cicero
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, JungKim.

    (1) Yes.
    (2) "The dead" means roughly the same thing in both examples: The dead = Those people who are dead. Or: dead people. You are right that "the dead" in the Guardian article refers to the people who died in that incident. "The dead" in the saying refers to all dead people.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    They are the same people: "... and three dead. Two of the dead (we just mentioned) have been named: ..."

    Added: Cross-posted with owlman.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    To me, the usage of "dead" is a little different.

    "...causing a current casualty toll of 176 injured, 17 critically, and three dead. Two of the dead have been named:..."

    For the first "dead" it's an ellipsis for "who are dead", "dead" being an adjective. The second "dead" is a clear noun referring to "the dead", like in the example in your quote, JungKim.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello, JungKim.

    (1) Yes.
    (2) "The dead" means roughly the same thing in both examples: The dead = Those people who are dead. Or: dead people. You are right that "the dead" in the Guardian article refers to the people who died in that incident. "The dead" in the saying refers to all dead people.
    Thanks. Now, regarding (2), would it be possible to make a blanket statement that the same switch between generic and specific meanings can occur, if the right context is there, to other "the + adjective" constructions such as "the rich", "the poor", "the gifted", "the unemployed", "the living", "the hungry", "the brave", "the broken-hearted", etc?
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks. Now, regarding (2), would it be possible to make a blanket statement that the same switch between generic and specific meanings can occur, if the right context is there, to other "the + adjective" constructions such as "the rich", "the poor", "the gifted", "the unemployed", "the living", "the hungry", "the brave", "the broken-hearted", etc?
    Sure. I think the generic meanings are more common, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see some writer use "the hungry", etc., with a specific meaning: There were many people in the crowd. The well-fed were smiling and the hungry all looked miserable.

    That said, I don't often hear phrases like "the brave" in conversation. I run across such phrases more often in writing.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    To me, the usage of "dead" is a little different.

    "...causing a current casualty toll of 176 injured, 17 critically, and three dead. Two of the dead have been named:..."

    For the first "dead" it's an ellipsis for "who are dead", "dead" being an adjective. The second "dead" is a clear noun referring to "the dead", like in the example in your quote, JungKim.
    Apparently, there has been much confusion about this.
    I know some dictionaries treat the second "dead" as a noun, while others an adjective.
    Is there any reason that you say it's a "clear" noun, especially when you can actually say "Two of the untimely dead have been named:..."?
     
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