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This is one of the question asked in Kid's grammar paper, the question was, underline the nouns in the sentence and mention the type of noun.

Elephant is the strongest animal.

Kid underlined elephant and animal. But his teacher says strongest is also a noun and its abstract noun.

We think strongest is not noun here, instead it's adjective.

Are we correct, if not can you guys explain please.

  • Strongest is indeed an adjective in that sentence, modifying animal. It can be used as a noun, but that's not the case here. – oerkelens Jul 13 '16 at 10:45
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Strongest would be an abstract noun if the sentence was written like this:

Elephant is the strongest.

You can't have two nouns back-to-back without a conjunction such as and or or.

The pattern is almost always this:

{ Article / determiner } { Adjective } { 2nd adjective, etc. } .... { Noun }

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    "You can't have two nouns back-to-back without a conjunction such as and or or." - We do that all the time with noun adjuncts: car show, shop floor, jungle gym, etc. I think your general point is correct, though. – stangdon Jul 13 '16 at 12:05
  • Even in your first quoted sentence strongest is not a noun, not even in traditional or school grammar. They however consider the strongest as a noun, as far as I can remember. In modern grammar strongest is the superlative form of adjective, and the strongest is a fused-head noun phrase. – Man_From_India Jul 13 '16 at 14:32
  • @stangdon all of those examples are using nouns as adjectives. – Nathan Young Jun 15 '17 at 21:45
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To start off: the sentence is incomplete, as the word "Elephant" requires an article "The elephant..."

In this sentence, the words "Elephant" and "animal" are functioning as nouns. The word "strongest" is functioning as an adjective; it is the superlative form of the adjective "strong" and modifies the noun "animal".

I would argue that "The elephant" is an abstract noun, since it refers to the abstract species, rather than a concrete living animal, similarly for "animal". Others may disagree.

There are sentences in which "strongest" can function as a noun. E.g. "The strongest will win." This would be understood in context: if one were discussing elephants it might mean "the strongest elephant will win."

The abstract noun related to "strong" is "strength".

  • Sorry, I'm not clear on your second example "The strongest elephant will win." You mean to say in this example strongest is noun ? @JamesKilfiger – Rajesh Naik Jul 13 '16 at 11:42
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    @RajeshNaik - No, in "The strongest elephant will win", strongest is an adjective. Only if it stands by itself, as in "The strongest will win" is strongest a noun. – stangdon Jul 13 '16 at 12:06

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