I came across this book

It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow

and my question is why eat is not eats ?

Thank you very much

  • 4
    The big, the small, the fast, the slow are all plurals :) – oerkelens Feb 10 '14 at 14:55
  • More accurately, the big, the small etc are 'adjectival nouns' (assuming they've standardised terminology by now), adjectives pressed into service as nouns. How adjectival they remain or how nouny they have become is a matter for debate. They usually refer to a class of people etc, and though of single form, then take plural agreement. 'The poor are with you always.' Note exceptions, however 'People, on tasting the new wine, say "The old is better".' – Edwin Ashworth Feb 10 '14 at 16:07

Oerkelens' comment answers this. Big, Small, Fast, and Slow are all plural words in this context.

  • 1
    Yes. It is "the big fish that eat the small fish". Or "the big corporations that eat the small corporations". And so on. Combining all these into one phrase: "The big that eat the small". – GEdgar Feb 10 '14 at 15:09
  • @GEdgar And the big fishes that eat the small fishes. – bib Feb 10 '14 at 18:29

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