We can, but the word "the" followed by an adjective can be a noun in English on its own. E.g. "no rest for the wicked." It's not grammatically incorrect, just maybe less common.
It's very common to use an adjective as a noun in French, less so but still possible in English.
- The elderly
- The good, the bad, and the ugly
How about "We punish the bad guys."? It corrected me to "We punish the bad ones.", which is pretty much the same thing.
The English equivalent would be "we punish the cruel". It was marked incorrect but "the cruel" is the English equivalent of "les méchants".... and it is a familiar phrase. For me it does not matter because I get it and this French course isn't about finding translations to suit English grammar uses.
every other verb seems to accept 'we are" but this answer rejected "we are punishing." how come?
"the naughty" seems to miss the intended meaning -- naughty is more for an unruly child, has an endearing quality to it.... unless that is what Duo means.
I put"We are punishing the villains" Why was it wrong as it is still present tense?
That's a reasonable question. Possibly though it is an idiom. Maybe @thoscorco might know, he purports to know about everyday parlance.
I don't like the grammar for "we punish the bad" :) So I tried "we punish the evil" to see what Duo would say. Fail!
I don't have a problem with this. Idiomatic equivalents matter, but nuanced meaning matters more. If the system accepted 'the evil' as a valid translation of 'les méchants', some students would inevitably get the wrong impression about the meaning of 'méchants' and begin using it incorrectly.
méchant/méchante ~ bad, spiteful, mean.
délinquant ~ offender, criminal
Lol Billy from Silent Night, Deadly Night would say something like this...
"We punish the naughties" was not accepted and should be. It wanted "villians" but never suggested such. Ugh.
My spelling isn't the best, hence I look under the words section to get the correct spelling and the word isn't there "punissons" in this case; so bloody frustrating duolingo.