"Old people have a lot of wisdom."
Translation:Les personnes âgées ont beaucoup de sagesse.
Can you use "âgé(e)(s)" as if it was a noun meaning "old people"/"the elderly"?
No, you have to use "les personnes âgées". Nouns can be "les seniors", "les ancien(ne)s".
I also wrote "les âgées".
I'm more familiar with Canadian French if that makes a difference? I would use "les jeunes" for "young people" too.
Why not, "Les âgées personnes ont beaucoup de sagesse." ? in accordance with the "BANGS" rule.
Okay, I never really liked the BANGS rule because it's an oversimplification. The actual rule is that when an adjective is subjective, it goes before the noun, whereas when it's objective, it goes after the noun. The BANGS adjectives are generally subjective. Nothing is absolutely beautiful/small/old, it's only beautiful/small/old for the speaker.
Now âgé(e)(s) doesn't really mean old. It means of an old age. Whereas vieux = old is subjective (for instance, my father who is more than 60 doesn't consider himself vieux=old), âgé is definitely objective because you cannot say that 60 is small number regarding age (i.e. it's objectively bigger than the average age in the world).
I hope this explanation was clear enough, though the matter is quite complicated.
The "BANGS" rule is merely a guideline. There are many adjectives that fit the BANGS criteria but come after the noun, and âgé is one of them.
"Âgé/âgée/âgés/âgées" is more objective than "vieux/vieil/vieille/vieux/vieilles". This is why "âgé" is placed after the noun (objective) and "vieux" before the noun (subjective).
I got marked wrong for "Les vieux gens ont beaucoup de sagesse". Is it really incorrect?
"Gens" becomes feminine in plural: "les vieilles gens" should be needed. However, we don't use that, but rather "les personnes âgées".
Wait, is gens feminine? My dictionary clearly states it is masculine. (example: les gens heureux). Maybe you mixed it up with personnes?
When "gens" gets an irregular adjective (BANGS) placed before it, the adjective is in the feminine form:
- Des gens gentils
- De bonnes gens.
"Gens" is a tricky word because you cannot use it exactly like "people".
"Les gens" is less respectful than "les personnes". When it comes to "old people", you will probably prefer "elderly" in English the same way the French will prefer "les personnes âgées".