April 22, 2017

Adjectives used without nouns

There are adjectives which are usually used without nouns.

To refer to a particular type of a group, the formation of the sentence is the + adjective. Following are some examples:

 the sportsmen, the handicapped, the deaf, the unemployed, the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the dead etc.


  • He is raising fund for the deaf. (He is raising fund for deaf people.)
  • Deprived are the poor (poor people are deprived)
  • We should do something for the unemployed.


You must have noticed that these expressions are never singular, they are always plural.


  • The deaf means “everyone who is deaf”.
  • The dead refers to everyone who is no more.

There are some exceptions to the rule of plurals. There are few phrases in which such adjectives are used for singular person. Example: the accused, the former, the latter, the deceased etc.

One thing you must make a note of is that such adjectives are not used without ‘the’.


Correct: Deprived are the poor.

IncorrectDeprived are poor.


When we use adjective in this way, the expressions cannot be used with apostrophe s (possessive ‘s).

For example:


CorrectThe government must think about the problem of the blind.

IncorrectThe government must think about the blind’s problem.

Correct: The government must think about blind people’s problem.

IncorrectBlind’s problem should be thought upon by the government.


Abstract ideas


Adjective can also be used to refer to some abstract quality or idea. The structure remains the same: the + adjective

She doesn’t believe in the astrology.

The fate is unknown to us.


Adjectives of Nationality- Adjectives for Behavior/State

The Adjectives of Nationality and Adjectives for Behavior/state ending -sh or -ch can be used without nouns.

  • The structure for the adjectives of nationality is the+ adjective. Examples: Irish, Welsh, English, British, Spanish, French etc.
  • The Adjective for Behavior/ state can be used without ‘the’. Examples: I am feeling He is acting childish, etc.

Adjectives used without nouns Quiz

Question #1: They have a very ___ house.

Correct Answer : luxurious

Question #2: Her ___ is beyond belief sometimes.

Correct Answer : stupidity

Question #3: They have a child of above average ___.

Correct Answer : intelligence

Question #4: He left his country to avoid the widespread ___ there.

Correct Answer : poverty

Question #5: She was taken to hospital when she became ___.

Correct Answer : sick

Question #6: They had a new garage built at great ___.

Correct Answer : expense

Question #7: That chair doesn’t look ___?

Correct Answer : safe

Question #8: My third attempt at making bread was a bit more ___.

Correct Answer : successful

Question #9: I can’t work in this ___ without air conditioning.

Correct Answer : heat

Question #10: Do you believe in life after ___?

Correct Answer : death

Interesting Quizzes