I was studying parts of speech and while learning common noun I found a special category that my book refer as plural common noun and there is written The + Adjective gives a plural common noun but there are exceptions. It is written that The deceased and The accused are two exceptions that are not plural common noun instead they work as singular noun.

I did a quick google search but couldn't find anything relevant except this. Looking at the examples in my link I could decide whether these two are common noun (but not plural common noun).

My question- is The deceased or The accused a common noun?

  • 'The deceased are ...' and 'The accused are ...' are equally possible. That is, both singular and plural verb forms are acceptable (and one chooses the correct form by looking to see haw many people are being referred to). Mar 6, 2022 at 17:50
  • @EdwinAshworth would you regard them as common noun or something else? Mar 6, 2022 at 17:53
  • You haven't linked to the book or attributed it; often, it is found that misapplications of rules, explanations, appear in questions not giving original quotes. Classifications are not always agreed upon, and sometimes overlap or conflict. I'm going to close vote as a duplicate, as I think Using adjectives as nouns answers your basic question.) answers your basic question. They're certainly not proper nouns; they can be used with either singular or plural verb forms, as I've stated. Mar 6, 2022 at 18:00
  • @EdwinAshworth, my book is given from my coaching center and certainly you won't be able to read it since it written is bengali language. Mar 6, 2022 at 18:36
  • You will almost certainly find our sister site, ELL (English Language for Learners), more appropriate, Nazmul. Oh, I see the question has been migrated. Mar 6, 2022 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


The + adjective is traditionally used to mean 'people who are like that' - for example the poor, the wounded. Nowadays it's considered better to say, for example disabled people rather than the disabled.

What your book means is that the deceased and the accused usually refer to one person (someone who has recently died and someone being tried in a court of law), although they can be plural if the reference is to several dead people or several people accused of the same crime.

  • So, the deceased and the accused, can these be considered as common noun grammatically? Mar 6, 2022 at 17:48
  • Yes (in that they are not proper nouns). Mar 6, 2022 at 17:51
  • For a moment, I thought they could be collective noun since "common noun" is a class noun. Mar 6, 2022 at 17:52
  • Christians believe that the deceased are either in Heaven or Hell, and a funeral director might say 'the deceased is ready for burial'. If a gang was arrested, a report might say 'the accused are due for trial in April', and at each trial, the accused is allowed to be represented by a lawyer. Mar 6, 2022 at 20:52
  • I suppose they are collective nouns when they refer to more than one person. Mar 7, 2022 at 8:50

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