https://m.9gag.com/gag/aGeAxDw In this video the girl says I think I can smell the spiritual

As far as I know articles can not be used with adjectives . No?


4 Answers 4


An adjective can often be used with a determiner (in this case the definite article) to become a noun that refers to all things that can be described by the adjective.

For example:

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.


When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

or even:

“... Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

A more sensible use of "the spiritual" might be:

"When we go in search of the spiritual, we leave the physical behind.

Here "the spiritual" refers to "any or all spiritual things".

In the video, the joke is that "the spiritual" is taken to mean sweaty body odour. I shows that she doesn't understand or believe yoga's spiritual value and sees it only as a sweaty exercise.

  • But the spiritual doesn't make no sense
    – user62691
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:04
  • And in the third one it should've been give me your tiredness ,your poverty
    – user62691
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:10
  • 2
    "your tired" people, "your poor" people
    – Ringo
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:16
  • The joke in the video is entirely different from this.
    – Ringo
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:17
  • 1
    This is precisely it. "The adjective" = "those things which are adjective".
    – stangdon
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:24

Uggh, what an annoying video. What is meant to be cute and funny is just weird.

What the girl says is a pretty clever joke. I would say this is pretty advanced English. She says:

The teacher says yoga is spiritual.

I think I can smell the spiritual.

Normally, you can't add "the" to "spiritual," but since this is a joke and informal, it's OK here. The girl is implying more than what she says. What she is implying is the following:

The teacher says yoga is spiritual, but it's actually just sweat.

I think I can smell the sweat.

This is a clever joke that adults sometimes make. It's facilitated by adding "the" to "spiritual," which is the hint that "spiritual" actually means something else -- in this case, it means either "sweat" or "body odor" or something similar. How do we know this? We are supposed to deduce that it's sweat because it's something you can smell while doing a physical activity. Once you solve this little riddle in your head, you can now understand the true meaning of the joke.

Children aren't really capable of being this sophisticated and sarcastic, so it's pretty clear that her parents told her to say this. She can barely pronounce the words!

  • You mean she wants to say 'i can smell what's spiritual'?
    – user62691
    Oct 6, 2017 at 6:49
  • What she wants to say is simply, "Yoga is sweaty and i can smell it"
    – Ringo
    Oct 6, 2017 at 6:50
  • "I think I can smell the spiritual" is a clever way of saying "Yoga is sweaty and I can smell it"
    – Ringo
    Oct 6, 2017 at 6:51
  • Okay. There's a band called the holy 😅 . What does that mean? Holy too is an adjective right? 😂😂
    – user62691
    Oct 6, 2017 at 6:53
  • 1
    It is not only informal. This style can be used in quite formal English. It sounds quite literary, as the quotations in other answers show.
    – Qsigma
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:49

This is a common construction in English. The adjective is nominalized, that is to say, it functions as an abstract noun that embodies the characteristic expressed by the adjective.

People visit this ancient well to experience the holy.

Here, the holy could be paraphrased holyness itself (var. sp holiness).

Hardy's works often deal with the tragic.

It can also be used to refer to a class of individuals possessing the trait expressed by the adjective:

Victory goes to the swift.


This is called a substantive adjective meaning that it has enough substance to act like a noun. The noun is understood but not stated.

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