In Africa there are many poors.

Is the above sentence correct ? Usually we use the article the to denote plural e.g. Alms were given to the poor. But using the poor after many in above given sentence sounds awkward so will we use simply poor here or poors is all right ?

  • Any reason to down vote the question ?
    – user212388
    Jun 22, 2017 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


No, it is not correct. You must say:

In Africa, there are many poor people.

As poor is an adjective, it cannot have plural endings like a noun.

In English, adjectives are always indeclinable.

  • Poor can be either an adjective or a noun. It would be most unusual to use the noun in the plural but it would be possible.in a poetic sense if one was comparing various kinds of poverty or poor people. "The poor people suffer as do the poor animals and the poor crops; in Africa, there are many poors." Jun 22, 2017 at 14:52
  • @RonaldSole Poor is only an adjective: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/poor Jun 22, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    @RonaldSole I believe that it is a nominalized adjective (i.e. still an adjective, but used as the head of a noun phrase).
    – SteveES
    Jun 22, 2017 at 15:12
  • @User26328 I grant you that most sources back up poor as an adjective although its use as a noun is recognised by some - dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/poor - and it's used as a noun all the time. Jun 22, 2017 at 15:14
  • @RonaldSole "The poor", a fused modifier-head noun phrase. "Poor" is still an adjective but it functions as a head of the noun phrase. Jun 22, 2017 at 15:47

Poor is an adjective.

However, in English, you can "nounify" many adjectives by using them where nouns are expected.

Doing can indicate you are talking about an entire class of something that has the adjective as an attribute.

Poor can and is often used to refer to an economic class. So it's frequently used as a noun. So you can see and use phrases like:

The poor are frequently at a disadvantage.

There are many poor who cannot partake in much of modern society.

In Africa there are many poor.

However this needs a context where you are talking about economic classes, not individuals.

  • 1
    Informally, we do use adjectives countably in some cases: When he eats M&Ms, he always picks out the reds. We have two smalls and one medium left in stock. It's mostly left turns, except on Second Street it's a right. It's a little undignified to speak of people in this way, however. There are a lot of poor there can be legitimate; There are a lot of poors there is demeaning, the kind of thing a rich movie villain would say.
    – choster
    Jun 22, 2017 at 21:26
  • True, because by saying poors you're assuming people are in that class.
    – LawrenceC
    Jun 23, 2017 at 0:00

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