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Collective adjectives

By combining an adjective and the definite article ‘the’, you can create a noun, like this:

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

By combining the definite article ‘the’ and the adjective ‘rich’, you create a phrase, which is effectively just a noun - ‘the rich’. Same with ‘the poor’.

So you use ‘the’ and an adjective to form a collective noun, as they’re known. If you use a verb with a collective noun, you need to use the plural form of the verb:

The poor were grateful to Robin Hood.

‘Were’ is a linking verb and is the plural form of the verb ‘was’.