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Sorry to ask two questions but I hope you will understand.

1. I have difficulty understanding why there should be an English article in front of a measurement terms like 'milligram' or others. Can it function as a noun?

a staggering 160 milligram

2. Can an adjective function as a noun?

let a by-gone be by-gone

When we say "a great", can it mean "a great person" in addition to "a great thing/object? Can it be used to mean either of two things -- a great thing and a great person?
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Hi,

1. I have difficulty understanding why there should be an English article in front of a measurement terms like 'milligram' or others. Can it function as a noun?

a staggering 160 milligram Yes, it's a noun, so say 'milligrams'.

2. Can an adjective function as a noun? Yes, it can. eg to call a communist 'a red'. This kind of example is well embedded in the language, eg The meek shall inherit the earth. But you should be careful about inventing your own usages, and not do it too often.

let a by-gone be by-gone 'Bygone' as a noun is only used in the plural, ie bygones. The word 'bygone' is an adjective. eg in bygone times.

When we say "a great", can it mean "a great person" in addition to "a great thing/object? Can it be used to mean either of two things -- a great thing and a great person? We say things like 'these 3 men are some of the all-time greats of baseball', or 'this song is one of the greats of all time'. Once again, I wouldn't recommend that you speak this way all the time.

Best wishes, Clive.
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A is often used with plural nouns when there is an adjective before the noun and an amount is thought of:

He spent a happy five days in Cairo.

An adjective becomes a plural noun when the is placed before it:

The illiterate can't read. (= Illiterate people can't read.)
The rich like money. (= Rich people like money.
I bet the poor do as well...)

If the reference is not to people, the resultant noun is grammatically singular:

The impossible fascinates him. (= Impossible things fascinate him.)

This usage is rather formal in style and not used much in conversation.

CB
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Thank you, all.

As to the second question, I am thinking of a situation where a person is using an adjective as a noun in a too casual a way (Is this correct??). Perhaps like this:

Yesterday, I met two great people in the movie industry and I think my friend Jim here could be considered a great too. -- Is this a correct usage of 'a great' as 'a great person'?
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Hi,

As to the second question, I am thinking of a situation where a person is using an adjective as a noun in a too casual a way (Is this correct??). Perhaps like this:

Yesterday, I met two great people in the movie industry and I think my friend Jim here could be considered a great too. -- Is this a correct usage of 'a great' as 'a great person'?

If your friend, Jim, earned $100 million from making his last movie, won an Oscar, and has both an Olympic gold medal and a Nobel Prize, it seems OK to me for you to call him 'a great'.

Clive
AnonymousAs to the second question, I am thinking of a situation where a person is using an adjective as a noun in a too casual a way (Is this correct??).
Don't use two articles! With too, the article comes after the adjective:

It was too difficult a question.

CB