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English Plurals

Ho un dubbio su: The rich = il ricco / i ricchi, The poor = il povero/ i poveri. Rich e poor non si usano al plurale perchè sono aggettivi?

I have a doubt about: The rich = il ricco / i ricchi, The poor = il povero/ i poveri. Are Rich and poor always in the singular form because they are adjectives?

Grazie! Thanks!

December 4, 2015

6 commenti


The usual way to describe these in English is as "nominalised adjectives" or more simply as "adjectives used as nouns". The problem in English is that adjectives are not declined for number (or gender). With certain exceptions, discussed below, nominalised adjectives are only used with a plural meaning, to prevent confusion. If you need to express a singular meaning then you need to supply a noun. Often "one" is used as a generic noun, as in "Which candidate do you prefer, the rich one or the poor one?" "Ones" can be used as a generic plural noun as well: "Which candidates are more successful in general, the rich ones or the poor ones?" The exceptions I mentioned earlier are

  • Ordinals: "The third", "the sixth", etc. These normally have a singular meaning.
  • Participles: "The following", "the undersigned", etc. These can have either a singular or plural meaning.
  • Comparatives: "The older", "the taller", etc. These are almost always singular, used to identify one of a known group of two. In modern English almost all speakers will use "one" after the adjective in such situations.
  • Superlatives: "The oldest", "the tallest", etc. These are usually singular, but can be plural depending on context.
  • Adjectives which were formerly in one of the categories above: "Other" was once a comparative, "next" and "last" were once superlatives.

Perhaps there are other types--I've never seen a list--but those are the only ones which occur to me.


In English they remain in singular as they are general plural nouns describing a group. In Italian they change endings as they are treated as normal nouns with variable endings.

In English "the rich" and "the poor" are not adjectives but nouns. Think of them as meaning the rich people and the poor people.


The rich have more savings than others.

The poor find it difficult to get ahead.

You will notice they each take the 3rd person plural verb.


Gli aggettivi posso essere preceduti da un articolo solo se è successivo un nome. Ad esempio : The POOR family./ The RICH family. Spero di esserti stata d'aiuto :)

Impara Inglese in soli 5 minuti al giorno. Gratis.