Are numbers adjectives, nouns or pronouns?

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Zip In The Wire:
This one hit me.
Is this interaction proper?
Joe: "How many people arrived today?"
Bill: "Sixteen were seen entering".
If the sentence is proper, sixteen must be a noun or a pronoun for the sentence to have a subject. However, is sixteen a noun or a pronoun because in this context it substitutes for the previous explicit noun, people.
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Eric Walker:
Joe: "How many people arrived today?" Bill: "Sixteen were seen entering". If the sentence is proper, sixteen must be a ... However, is sixteen a noun or a pronoun because in this context it substitutes for the previous explicit noun, people.

It is an adjective modifying the elided term "persons":

Sixteen (persons) were seen entering.(1)
English allows us to drop words when their implied presence is inescapable: that dropping is called ellipsis. It is a great power, and therefore accordingly liable to great abuse. As Wilson Follett put it,
The chief responsibility is to see to it that the words omitted in the writing will infallibly be those supplied in the reading.
Here, the elided term is unmistakable.
(1) When dealing with actually or notionally countable groups of humans, it is best to use "persons", preserving the concept of their individual identities; reserve "people" as a word for almagamated crowds or collections ("Many people liked his last book"). If five people enter a room and four people leave it, what does the room hold? One peop?

Cordially,
Eric Walker
My opinions on English are available at
http://owlcroft.com/english /  ...
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Schultz:
Joe: "How many people arrived today?" Bill: "Sixteen were seen ... this context it substitutes for the previous explicit noun, people.

It is an adjective modifying the elided term "persons": Sixteen (persons) were seen entering.(1) English allows us to drop words when their implied presence is inescapable: that dropping is called ellipsis.

Yeah, uh-huh.
"Big were seen entering."
"Ugly were seen entering."
See your error now? Those examples show that "sixteen" is NOT an adjective.
Attributive numbers are determiners, like "those," "many," "his", etc.
\\P. Schultz  ...
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Jane MacDonald:
It is an adjective modifying the elided term "persons": ... implied presence is inescapable: that dropping is called ellipsis.

Yeah, uh-huh. "Big were seen entering." "Ugly were seen entering." See your error now? Those examples show that "sixteen" is NOT an adjective. Attributive numbers are determiners, like "those," "many," "his", etc. \\P. Schultz

Actually, I'd call the "sixteen" in that sentence a "quantifier," rather than a "determiner."
In fact, however, only a tiny number of English-speakers has any idea what either one of those is, while most literate people know about adjectives, so what I'd really call the "sixteen" is an adjective. In other words, for practical purposes Eric is right.

Eric was speaking in terms of traditional grammar, which doesn't include a part of speech called a "determiner." Linguists don't like traditional grammar, but since nobody cares what linguists like, that's just tough.
Jane
Jane MacDonald
http://janemac98.tripod.com  ...
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Schultz:
Eric was speaking in terms of traditional grammar, which doesn't include a part of speech called a "determiner."

And to show that it is an adjective, he used an example (elipsis) that, together with my analogous examples, clearly showed that it ISN'T an adjective.
If he wants it to be an adjective, that's fine. But in so asserting it would be a good idea to choose examples that underwrite his assertion instead of one that undermines it.

\\P. Schultz  ...
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Zip In The Wire:
Joe: "How many people arrived today?" Bill: "Sixteen were seen ... this context it substitutes for the previous explicit noun, people.

It is an adjective modifying the elided term "persons": Sixteen (persons) were seen entering.(1) English allows us to drop words ... last book"). If five people enter a room and four people leave it, what does the room hold? One peop?

Goedel's theorem tells us that no symbolic system can be complete. Grammar is the mathematics of language. I like to notice holes in systems when I find them.
English allows us to drop words when their implied presence is inescapable: that dropping is called ellipsis. It is a great power, and therefore accordingly liable to great abuse. As Wilson Follett put it,

This means we can end a sentence in a preposition if the object of the preposition has an impled, inescapable presence.  ...
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Robert Lieblich:
English allows us to drop words when their implied presence ... accordingly liable to great abuse. As Wilson Follett put it,

This means we can end a sentence in a preposition if the object of the preposition has an impled, inescapable presence.

Of course. I have never seen a participant in this group deny that.

It also means that we can end a sentence in a preposition if its object is an actual presence in the sentence. "What did you do that for?" "She is the person that (or whom) I gave it to." "This much I confess to."

Bob Lieblich
Not very elliptically  ...
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Schultz:
This means we can end a sentence in a preposition if the object of the preposition has an impled, inescapable presence.

Yeah, like if the person shows up in a prisoner's suit, he can say "I've just come from." There is no need for him to say he has come from prison, because that is obvious.
I assume that's what you meant?
\\P. Schultz  ...
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Robert Lieblich:
This means we can end a sentence in a preposition if the object of the preposition has an impled, inescapable presence.

Yeah, like if the person shows up in a prisoner's suit, he can say "I've just come from." There is no need for him to say he has come from prison, because that is obvious. I assume that's what you meant?

My late mother-in-law used to ask me if I wanted "to go with." Blame it on her Yiddish.
I think the Zip meant something involving dependent clauses with elided "that"s "Are you the person (who/m) I'll be going with?" But that's not nearly as funny?

Bob Lieblich
Party pooper  ...
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