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BS''D
5.5  Substantive Usage of Adjectives

Section Vocabulary

Section 5.5 Vocabulary

Note: The third person subject pronouns are listed here for your reference, but will not be studied until Unit Six.


The Substantive Usage of Adjectives

An adjective can stand alone and function as a noun. When it does so, it may function as the subject or object of a verb, and it always appears with the definite article.

When you encounter a definite adjective that does not seem to modify a noun within a sentence, it may be a substantive adjective. Translate the adjective with an implied “one” (for singular forms) or “ones” for plural forms.


Substantive Adjective Paradigm
We can use the adjective tov for our paradigmatic examples:

Substantive Adjective Paradigm


Examples:

Substantive Adjective Example

In this example, the 3rd person singular masculine personal pronoun (“he” or “it”) is used with the definite masculine singular adjective hattov. The adjective here functions substantively and we translate: “He is the good (one).”

 

 

Substantive Adjective Example

In this example, the 3rd person singular feminine personal pronoun (“she” or “it”) is used with the definite feminine singular adjective hattovah. The adjective here functions substantively and we translate: “She is the good (one).”

 

 

Substantive Adjective Example

The third person masculine plural pronoun (“they”) functions as the subject of this clause. The adjective is definite masculine plural used substantively, so we translate: “They are the wise (ones).”

 

 

Substantive Adjective Example

Here the adjective (he-chakham) is used substantively as the subject of the verb shamar. We translate: “The wise man guarded.”

 

 

Substantive Adjective Example

Here the adjective (hazzakenah) is used substantively as the subject of the verb zakhrah. We translate: “The old (woman) remembered.”


Section Exercises

  1. Memorize the section vocabulary (top of the page).
  2. Summarize the usage of substantive adjectives on a small flashcard (e.g., that they stand alone and function as nouns and that they always appear with the definite article). Provide simple examples to help you remember the rules.
  3. From the vocabulary you already know, create simple substantive adjective sentences by selecting a noun (as a subject term) or a definite adjective.


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