To my mind, the + adj = adj people. For example, the old = old people and the poor = poor people. I wonder if this rule applies to all adjectives. In this case, it's the past participle "surveyed".

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    Yes: here are a bunch of examples of exactly that kind of usage, taken from the Google Ngrams results for the phrase "the surveyed are." google.com/… (Using that particular phrase, with "are," helps to exclude extraneous results where the adjective would modify a noun instead of standing in for the noun.) Apr 2 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


The past participle surveyed functioning as adjective can be used as a nominalised adjective, as @Quack E. Duck showed. We, however, are unlikely to be able to conclude that all adjectives can be nominalised.

But will there be just more widespread nominalisation? I doubt so. Wikipedia says

Nominal uses of adjectives have been found to have become less common as the language developed from Old English to Middle English and then Modern English.

Its table showing the frequency of such uses in different stages of the language shows a general decrease through the years.

Many of the coining cases likely go through difficulties like this:

... the study of the processes whereby new words come into being language like English seems relatively straightforward. This apparent simplicity however masks a number of controversial issues. Despite the disagreement of scholars in the area, there don´t seem to be a regular process involved.

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