Nominal Adjectives

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Certain adjectives are used to denote a class by describing one of the attributes of the class. For example, the poor denotes a class of people who share a similar financial status. Other nominal adjectives are:  
      the old  
      the sick  
      the wealthy
      the blind
      the innocent 
A major subclass of nominal adjectives refers to nationalities:  
      the French  
      the British  
      the Japanese 
However, not all nationalities have corresponding nominal adjectives. Many of them are denoted by plural, proper nouns: 
      the Germans  
      the Russians  
      the Americans  
      the Poles 
Nominal adjectives do not refer exclusively to classes of people. Indeed some of them do not denote classes at all:  
      the opposite  
      the contrary  
      the good 
Comparative and superlative forms can also be nominal adjectives: 
      the best is yet to come  
      the elder of the two  
      the greatest of these  
      the most important among them 
We refer to all of these types as nominal adjectives because they share some of the characteristics of nouns (hence `nominal') and some of the characteristics of adjectives. They have the following nominal characteristics: 
  • they are preceded by a determiner (usually the definite article the) 
  • they can be modified by adjectives (the gallant French, the unfortunate poor) 
They have the following adjectival features: 
  • they are gradable (the very old, the extremely wealthy) 
  • many can take comparative and superlative forms (the poorer, the poorest 
More on Adjectives...

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