We should respect the olds.


Which sentence is correct ?

A) We should respect the old.
B) We should respect the olds

I know that the + adjective = noun, but I have no idea for the plural case.
  • eli7

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    I think when we use "the" with an adjective and change it to a noun, it shows the plural noun now. For example when we say "policeman" it refers to one person but when we say "the police" it refers to the group of people who their job is to be police officers.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Both sentences are incorrect.
    We should respect the elderly.
    We should respect our elders.
    We should respect senior citizens.
    We do not use olds when referring to older people.


    English - England
    Which sentence is correct ?

    A) We should respect the old. :tick:
    B) We should respect the olds. :cross:

    Adjectives that are used as nouns are uncountable nouns. They are plural. They do not take an "s"

    "The young are noisy and lazy!"
    "The sick are treated badly."
    "The honest are often cheated."

    If it helps you, imagine that the word 'people' follows this type of noun:

    "The young people are noisy and lazy!"
    "The sick people are treated badly."
    "The honest people are often cheated."


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Speaking from a British point of view:
    • grammatically, We should respect the old is correct.
    • grammatically, the olds cannot be used because in English, an adjective stays the same whether it's singular or plural. It doesn't change to match the noun.
    However, phrases like the old, the blind, the disabled are now felt by many to be disrespectful or offensive because of the way that they lump everyone together into a group. It's better to refer to [adjective] people, e.g. old people, blind people. But even that has problems, so it's better to find a more considerate term if you can. Our seniors, people who are blind, people with a disability.

    So We should respect the old is correct grammar, but not good writing style.


    Thank you very much ! To sum up, 'the old', 'the blinid' is gramatically correct but

    'seniors', 'people who are blind' are more polite expression !


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Or, as tepatria said, "the elderly."
    The elderly would be slightly suspect in Britain, since it can be seen as lumping them together in an impersonal group. It's reasonably OK, but elderly people is less likely to offend anyone. The [adjective labelling a whole group] is generally used cautiously here, because people in the group tend to feel labelled by it. They complain that they're not being seen as people but as the label.
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