last changed in 2002
A 'mixed category' is a word class which combines two or more of the main word classes. The clearest (and most discussed) example of this is the gerund, which is both a verb and a noun. Other examples in English are:
- the lexemes MUCH, MANY, LITTLE and FEW, which are (probably) both nouns and adjectives. They are nouns as dependents because they can be used wherever a noun is needed (e.g. as object of BUY: I didn't buy much), but they are adjectives as parents because they allow adverbs as dependents (e.g. very much) and have inflections for comparative and superlative (more, most; less, least). The same may be true of ALL.
- superlative adjectives such as biggest which may also be common nouns, to judge by their behaviour with determiners (e.g. the biggest is much better than the big).
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