In some languages "new" could be used both as a noun or as an adjective. I read that in English, "new" is only an adjective. Is it true? When I say: "a new", is it wrong? How else can I properly say something along the lines "a new"?

In other words, is it ok to say: "a new is being created"? If not, how to say it properly?


Example - hmm, I cannot really think of one. Maybe: "a miracle is when a new comes to life out of nothing". I try to name the result of a creation.

The problem is, in my native language there is no distinction between "new" as a noun and "new" as an adjective. "Newness" is, if I understand correctly, the general quality of "a new" or of "something new", hence it is a bit different from what I'm looking for.

"The new" is almost perfect - but I'm not sure if I can use "the" as this is the first time I talk about that "new".

  • 4
    Please give an example with more context. – MetaEd Jan 26 '12 at 20:05
  • the new of the moon – GEdgar Aug 18 '13 at 19:35

A bit more context would help. It sounds like you want to say:

Something new is being created.

I cannot think of a way to use "a new" where "new" is a noun, but "the new", as in "Out with the old and in with the new." is correct. In that case, it is called, I believe, an ellipsis.

  • +1 because when I saw the question title my first thought was "...in with the new". I'm not even sure it is ellipsis as such. It can be said in contexts where it's very difficult to define exactly what the "real" missing noun might be - things, ideas, people? I'm inclined to think in that particular usage, "new" is practically an abstract noun all by itself. – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '12 at 21:22
  • There's another question lurking here, @FumbleFingers, on when/whether a elliptical construction like this can morph into a new part of speech or idiom. "Big", for example, is now a noun in basketball parlance, meaning someone who plays the Center position. – JeffSahol Jan 27 '12 at 14:16
  • I think what it comes down to is the crude categorisation of individual words words into nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. can only take things so far. I'm not sure the same argument applies to categorising "parts of speech" in specific constructions, but maybe it does.Similar to particle physics, where I think it's now getting awkward to speak of, say, "an electron" as a specific entity existing in a specific place and time. – FumbleFingers Jan 27 '12 at 14:54

English like many languages allows substantive adjectives, i.e. adjectives that are used in place of nouns. Using the definite article (the) is usually helpful to indicate that you are using such an adjective:

Out with the old, in with the new.

What becomes of the broken-hearted?

Soak the rich.

Fortune favors the bold.

As "A new is being created" uses the indefinite article (a / an), I think it would confuse most English-speakers, who would ask "a new what?" If you want a generic message indicating that something new is being created, you could try to find a generic term for whatever it could be:

A new item is being created.

Since the act of creation implies newness in itself (one does not by definition create old or existing things), perhaps you can reword to replace one or the other. A software status message could be as simple as

Creating …


When used with the definite article, new does indeed function as a noun (as JeffSahol notes). But that doesn't work for what you seem to be trying to say.

The new is being created.

That is technically grammatical but sounds godawful.

If you want to make a noun out of the abstract concept of new you could try newness. So you could say

Newness is being created.

But that still needs special handling and enough context to make it work.


The most common use of "new" as a noun is "out with the old, in with the new."


From Merriam-Webster:

new, noun

1 : a new thing : something new {the new ever supplants the old}; especially : the first phase {in the new of the moon}

2 : FRESHNESS, NEWNESS {wear the new off these shoes}

Note that Merriam-Webster lists adjective, noun, and adverb forms of new. (The adverb is usually used in combination, as in "new-mown grass.")

For your sentence, you could say something like, "This is the creation of the new."


My contribution would be: a novelty if it fits your purpose. The new also works, like the young, the poor, and the well-to-do all work.

However, I daresay that a new” (as opposed to the new”) sounds awkward, doesn’t it?

  • I think you need to explain that a novelty might be taken to mean a joke, or at least something light-hearted. – Tim Lymington Aug 18 '13 at 18:33

In Italian you have the expression: "C'è una novità" which translated literally is "There is a new thing."

The noun, novità, in Italian does much more than by saying a new. It could be saying one of several things for example, there is some latest news I have to tell you, or "Is anything new happening in your life?" It might be announcing that new products or items have been issued or released in the market. So context is king in these cases, and unfortunately, the OP did not specify any situation for this noun "new", only in the sense that from a new being, a miracle has been created.

"a miracle is when a new comes to life out of nothing"

Hence, in English, if we were talking about a scientific discovery or new studies in medicine we might say:

A new breakthrough in science/medicine has been made in the fight against etc...

If we were talking about new electronic devices or technological advances we might say:

Numerous innovations in the field of telecommunications have been etc...

The cutting edge of computer technology that promises to etc..

On a final note the expressions: breakthrough, innovation and cutting edge are all nouns, which proves that the English language does indeed have nouns meaning newness.


Has the "new" worn off yet?

Seems to meet the criteria in a different way with a common figure of speech.

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