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"Murray has years of experience in family practice, but he is just a fledgling in surgery."

In the above sentence, is fledgling a noun or an adjective? Or, is it both? Is that why both noun and adjective definitions are present in the following Magoosh practice link?

https://gre.magoosh.com/flashcards/vocabulary/basic-words-3/fledgling

Please provide references for your answer, if possible.

P.s. My punctuation needs work. If you notice any punctuation or grammar problems in my question, please say so!

  • It's a noun.... – Hot Licks Apr 4 '17 at 12:16
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    It's an incipient noun - a fledgling on the verge of flying into full nouniness. – Drew Apr 4 '17 at 14:58
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Well, we don't normally use article-adjective without a noun to modify (exceptions include uses like the poor, as noted below in the comment), so this is an article-noun structure. Let's take it out of context:

He is a fledgling.

Now, try it with an adjective:

He is a curious.

Not so good. Now, with a noun:

He is a carpenter.

That works. In your sentence, fledgling is used as a noun. To reword it as an adjective, we might say:

He is a fledgling surgeon.

But that was not your example.

See grammerly and grammarbook for adjective use instruction. And your punctuation looks good.

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