Adjectival Nouns or Nominalized Adjectives?

Adjectival Nouns or Nominalized adjectives

An adjectival noun, also referred to as a nominalized adjective, is an adjective that functions as a noun as in 'look at the Irish over there'.

Before giving more examples of adjectival nouns, let's study the difference between nouns and adjectives.

Nouns vs Adjectives

A noun is a part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action.

An adjective is another part of speech which gives us more information about nouns. Adjectives modify nouns.


Adjectives Nouns
  • Poor
  • Long
  • Ugly
  • Considerable
  • Bad
  • John
  • River
  • Table
  • Courage
  • Work

Nominalization of Adjectives

It is sometimes possible that adjectives, by the process of nominalization, may function as nouns.

Consider the following examples:

  • The ugly is coming.
  • The other is different.
  • The bad always loses
  • The rich must help the poor.

The words ugly, other, bad, rich in the above examples function as adjectival nouns (or nominalized adjectives).

Nominalized adjectives vs attributive nouns

There is a difference between nominalized adjectives and attributive nouns:

  • Nominalized adjectives are adjectives that function as nouns as in 'the poor, the rich, the English'.
  • Attributive nouns are nouns that function as adjectives as in 'chicken soup, field player, race car, ladies room'

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