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Here's a sentence taken from the BBC:

A mental health clinic was also set up by Mercy's volunteer professor of clinical psychology, as by now it was clear that the stress of having lost home and loved ones was taking its toll on even the most stoic.

Is that sentence ok, in general?
Shouldn't there be a noun or a pronoun after "stoic"? The most stoic victims, the most stoic ones, etc. Apart from a few fixed exceptions (the needy, the poor, the rich, etc.), I don't know of any other cases where you can use an adjective without a noun or a pronoun.

Thank you in advance.
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KooyeenApart from a few fixed exceptions (the needy, the poor, the rich, etc.), I don't know of any other cases where you can use an adjective without a noun or a pronoun.
You're wrong, Kooyeen. An adjective can be substantivized by putting the before it. The most stoic is beautiful English! [Y]

If people are not meant, the verb is singular: The impossible interests him.

CB
Cool BreezeYou're wrong, Kooyeen. An adjective can be substantivized by putting the before it. The most stoic is beautiful English! Emotion: yes
If people are not meant, the verb is singular: The impossible interests him.
It's probably perfect English, but I don't understand "the rule", in other words.
It can't be that every adjective can be used as a noun that way, otherwise that would mean that sentences like this would be possible: "We had to sell all the cars, even the expensive" (instead of "even the expensive ones"). And it doesn't seem to work even if the adjectives refer to people: "We are going to invite all the girls, even the ugly" (instead of "the ugly ones").

But I'm not sure. Is there some kind of rule of thumb?

EDIT: I'm going to try to answer my own question, because maybe now I understand the problem. I think it all depends on the superlative. Practical English Usage, Swan, 138.10:
The second part of a comparative or superlative structure can be left out when the meaning is given by what comes before. - Ex: I like everybody who works here, but you are the nicest of all.
So I guess maybe you can say "We had to sell all the cars, even the most expensive (ones)", and leave out the pronoun. If there wasn't the superlative there, you couldn't leave it out and say "the expensive".

Am I on the right track now?
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Kooyeen"We had to sell all the cars, even the expensive" (instead of "even the expensive ones
You are right. The expensive would refer to cars, in other words, objects, and that doesn't happen, at least not usually. A substantivized noun usually refers to people, not physical objects. However, it can refer to abstract things as the impossible does in my first post.
Kooyeen"We are going to invite all the girls, even the ugly" (instead of "the ugly ones").
The ugly doesn't work here, probably because it is understood from the context that the number of ugly girls is quite small. An adjective that is substantivized this way very often refers to all such people, or at least to a very large number of them: The ugly shall inherit the earth.Emotion: wink (I think this is from the Bible. I just don't remember which prophet said it.) Very often an adjective substantivized this way is either the grammatical subject or object in a clause.

Obviously some adjectives lend themselves to this role better than others and there are some that are out of the question completely. I have never seen better explanations regarding substantivization, probably because the nature of English requires idiomatic usage and consequently preparing a list of suitable adjectives and contexts in which they can be used would be impossible.
KooyeenSo I guess maybe you can say "We had to sell all the cars, even the most expensive (ones)
I wouldn't leave out ones. I consider the sentence incorrect without it.

CB
Cool BreezeThe ugly shall inherit the earth.
LOL, yeah, that sounds ok to me too, because it has the same syntax and semantic purpose as other more common expressions (ex: the rich, the poor, etc.)

The stoic... I thought that was the explanation in this case too, but then I noticed that it was actually a superlative: the most stoic. Swan says you can leave out the last part of the superlative if it's already been mentioned, and I found lots of examples like these on the net:

Of all the fats, the are the most heart-friendly.
Of all the signs, they are the most businesslike.
Of all the dolphin species, they are the most inclined to interact with humans.

So I guess you can leave out the noun or one/ones after a superlative. The problem is that in the original example, the noun wasn't mentioned in the sentence.

A mental health clinic was also set up by Mercy's volunteer professor of clinical psychology, as by now it was clear that the stress of having lost home and loved ones was taking its toll on even the most stoic (what?)

It's clear they are referring to "people/victims/etc" but since it's not mentioned anywhere in the sentence, it sounds like something is missing.
KooyeenA mental health clinic was also set up by Mercy's volunteer professor of clinical psychology, as by now it was clear that the stress of having lost home and loved ones was taking its toll on even the most stoic (what?)

It's clear they are referring to "people/victims/etc" but since it's not mentioned anywhere in the sentence, it sounds like something is missing.
No, nothing is missing. People are talked about in your example and that is perhaps the more common of the two uses of the structure. The + adjective refers to either people or abstract things:

The rich like money.
The substantivized adjective usually becomes a plural noun. (Rich people like money.)
In some rare cases the adjective can become a singular noun:
The deceased was/were buried here.

The impossible interests him. (Impossible things interest him.)

A very common case of a substantivized noun is to have the article followed by an adjective denoting nationality:

The French like wine. (French people like wine.)
The Irish love their green countryside.

Of course English isn't logical enough for this to be possible with all such adjectives. For example, you can't say: The Italian like wine. You have to say Italians / Italian people like wine.

As English is a language of fixed idioms and expressions, many adjectives denoting nationality may sound odd or unnatural or downright wrong even if they end in sh or ch like Irish or French. For example, I have never heard an Englishman talk about "the Finnish". (I have met some who didn't know the word "Finnish" at all.)

CB
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Cool BreezeThe ugly shall inherit the earth. (I think this is from the Bible...
It was the meek. Emotion: smile
Cool Breeze ... I just don't remember which prophet said it.)
Jesus. The Beatitudes.
I wonder if there is a statistical correlation between the meek and the ugly.

CJ
CalifJimI wonder if there is a statistical correlation between the meek and the ugly.CJ
If you happen to find any, I'll be more than happy to help put it on the map. Emotion: stick out tongue
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