How to nominalize adjectives in Latin? In English, adjectives can be nominalized with a slight different in meaning: "the sick man", "the sick". In German, it's possible to nominalize the present participle: "die neue Kollegin", "die Neue".

But how is it with Latin? And can the participles (like portans, portatus...) be nominalized (like the German: "tragend" > "der Tragende")?


Latin doesn't need any changes at all. Since there are no definite articles, there's no need for anything but using the adjective substantively. The only requirement is following normal grammar rules on case endings.

So, you could easily say both vir bonus and just bonus for "the good man." Same with participles, one of the most memorably lines from Livy is vae victis, "woe to the conquered." Even things like omnia, "everything," are technically adjectives used as nouns.

For further reading, I suggest looking at Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar §288.

  • 2
    It's also worth mentioning that the neuter can be used to express abstract concepts: bona mea = "my goods" or quid novi (< novum) = "what's new?"
    – brianpck
    May 2 '17 at 17:10

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