Common Mistakes In the Use of Adjectives
The + adjective
The expressions the blind, the dead, the sick, the unemployed, the poor, the deaf etc., are always plural.
- The poor need our help. (NOT The poor needs our help.)
- The unemployed are losing hope. (NOT The unemployed is losing hope.)
- He is collecting money for the blind and the deaf.
- The rich are not always the happiest.
- The sick and the wounded were taken to hospital.
- The poor need your help.
In a few fixed phrases, the + adjective can have a singular meaning. Examples are: the accused, the deceased, the former and the latter.
- The accused was released on bail. (Just one person)
- The accused were sent to jail. (More than one person)
- The injured was taken to hospital. (Just one person)
Note that these expressions cannot be used without ‘the’.
- He is collecting money for the blind. (NOT He is collecting money for blind.)
Adjectives ending in –ly
Most adverbs end in –ly. However, some words ending in –ly are adjectives, and not normally adverbs. Examples are: costly, cowardly, deadly, friendly, likely, lively, lonely, lovely, silly, ugly and unlikely.
- She is a lovely girl.
- He has a friendly boss.
- Cyanide is a deadly poison.
- It was a silly mistake.
- He is a lonely person.
- It was a lively discussion.