"Unemployed" as a noun?

trnbg

Member
Germany, German
can I use "unemployed" as a noun? My dictionnary tells me that I can, but in practice it seems to be used always as an adjective.

So, for example: "(The) unemployed are ..."

Is that good English, or is it better to say:

"(The) unemployed people (or persons)"?
 
  • Madrid829

    Senior Member
    US English, Great Lakes area
    Using it either way is acceptable. If you're using it as a noun, you must use an article. If you're saying 'unemployed people' (I prefer people over persons), use the article if you're referring to a specific group of unemployed people; leave it out if you're speaking about unemployed people in general.

    Hope that helps a little :)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Trnbg ~ welcome to the forum:)
    The unemployed can be used, yes, and often is used. But it always has a definite article and takes a plural verb as it refers to groups of unemployed people.

    The unemployed of this district often suffer from rickets.:tick:

    My cousin is an unemployed.:cross:
    My cousin is an unemployed person/welder/moron.:tick:
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    A new question.
    I've just come across the following definition of "unemployed" in Pearson's online application - "Vocabulary Trainer":
    "Someone who does not have a job."

    It suggests that it is a noun and can be used in the singular, while mostly it is used as an adjective.

    On the Net I found this sentence:
    "Usually an unemployed is concerned with repayment of loan."
    Source:
    Unsecured unemployed loan: surviving when you have lost the security of job. Website: www.loansforunemployed.co.uk

    Is the example above unusual?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I haven't seen that use before. There is one such noun that is commonly used that way in a business context: 'insured'. An insurer can have an insured, and there can be plural insureds. I haven't seen this extended to any other -ed word used as a noun.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    From the link above: "We are Loans for unemployed. Ours is an accomplished site providing loans for unemployed people during this strenuous period"

    This doesn't seem to have been written by a native. I've never seen the noun "unemployed used in the singular.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ...
    On the Net I found this sentence:
    "Usually an unemployed is concerned with repayment of loan."
    Source:
    Unsecured unemployed loan: surviving when you have lost the security of job. Website: www.loansforunemployed.co.uk

    Is the example above unusual?
    Not only is it unusual, it's incorrect. There are other grammatical mistakes on that website.

    I was interested to see this near the bottom of the page.

    The Representative APR is 2,610.15% so if you borrow £275 over 28 days at a rate of 359.40% (fixed) you will repay £357.36.

    Good grief.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    So 'concerned with repayment' is an understatement then. Probably best not to take anything from that website, linguistic or otherwise.
     

    Thomas O'Maley

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    I've just come across the following definition of "unemployed" in Pearson's online application - "Vocabulary Trainer": "Someone who does not have a job."
    It suggests that it is a noun and can be used in the singular, while mostly it is used as an adjective.
    With this use of adjectives you need to remember that the only acceptable determiner is "the". The adjective "unemployed" normally modifies a noun, but in this case it is fused with the noun head, and we understand "the unemployed" as a fused-head noun phrase, with a plural interpretation.In CGEL they classified this construction as a subclass of the fused-head construction which they named "Modifier-head with special interpretations". "The NPs are determined by the definite article - we couldn't even substitute a demonstrative: *these very poor (instead of "the very poor" in "How will the new system affect the very poor? wouldn't be acceptable) (p417)
    They note that a "rather restricted range of adjectives" occur in fused-head constructions with special interpretations.
     
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    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "An unemployed" must be followed by a noun (e.g. person, actor).
    I can't find the sentence Usually an unemployed ... in the source you quote.
    It is the first sentence of the third paragraph. At the end of that paragraph there is another sentence with "an unemployed": "An unemployed should check their contract to see any variations."

    Another example from the Net:
    "The longer an unemployed is without work, the lower chances he/she has for finding a job."
    Source: "High unemployment rate in the USA." Website: worldpoliticsjournal.com.
    In the list of authors there is only one English name:
    Alessio Fratticcioli
    Alexander Frye
    Audrey Schlegel
    Bartlomiej Znojek
    C. S. Kuppuswamy
    Charles Grant
     
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    jarabina

    Senior Member
    English - Scotland
    Another example from the Net:
    "The longer an unemployed is without work, the lower chances he/she has for finding a job."
    Source: "High unemployment rate in the USA." Website: worldpoliticsjournal.com.
    In the list of authors there is only one English name:
    Alessio Fratticcioli
    Alexander Frye
    Audrey Schlegel
    Bartlomiej Znojek
    C. S. Kuppuswamy
    Charles Grant
    This is another example of non-native English - cf. the mistake in the emboldened section. When adjectives are used to describe a group, they cannot refer to individuals.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo.

    The first name and surname in the above list are Italian.
    In Italian, the plural of the adjective (preceded by a definite article) is used to represent all the elements sharing the same characteristics (i disoccupati)
    In Italian, the singular of the adjective (preceded by either a definite or indefinite article) can be used as a noun representing a whole category (un/il disoccupato) or one element taken from a set of similar elements.

    GS :)
     

    Kalvaniya

    New Member
    English - India
    Yes! Unemployed can be used both as an adjective and as a noun.

    Here are some examples, hope you can feel the difference:

    (As a noun it is always considered plural.)
    There are now over four million unemployed in this country. (Noun)
    Our department provides services for the unemployed. (Noun)

    He's been unemployed for over a year. (Adjective)

    Thank you!
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thank you.
    I think the source of my misunderstanding was the way the word "unemployed" was and still is presented in PEARSON's Vocabulary Trainer.
    unemployed
    Someone who does not have a job.
    - I'm unemployed at the moment, but I'm looking for work.
    - He's an actor but he's unemployed at the moment. He has no job.

    It should be:
    Someone who is unemployed does not have a job.

    Or, it should be presented with the definite article:
    the unemployed
    People who do not have a job.

    (As a noun it is always considered plural.)
    There are now over four million unemployed in this country. (Noun)
    Your example shows the word "unemployed" can be used without the definite article, or when it has another 'plural' determiner.
     
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    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    unemployed
    Someone who does not have a job.
    - I'm unemployed at the moment, but I'm looking for work.
    - He's an actor but he's unemployed at the moment. He has no job.

    It should be:
    Someone who is unemployed does not have a job.
    Well, in your definition, you just repeated the word being defined; I assume the authors couldn't afford such a waste of space.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Well, in your definition, you just repeated the word being defined; I assume the authors couldn't afford such a waste of space.
    I found that definition in ldoceonline.com, in the thesaurus section:
    unemployed someone who is unemployed does not have a job

    So, the above example sentence shows the adjectival use of the word 'unemployed.'
     
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