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This post is on des jaloux and des envieux as found in this passage from Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, chapter 7.

Dantès, the hero of the novel, has been arrested and is being questioned by Villefort, a public prosecutor.

  — Monsieur, dit Villefort, vous connaissez-vous quelques ennemis ?
  — Des ennemis à moi, dit Dantès : j’ai le bonheur d’être trop peu de chose pour que ma position m’en ait fait. Quant à mon caractère, un peu vif peut-être, j’ai toujours essayé de l’adoucir envers mes subordonnés. J’ai dix ou douze matelots sous mes ordres : qu’on les interroge, Monsieur, et ils vous diront qu’ils m’aiment et me respectent, non pas comme un père, je suis trop jeune pour cela, mais comme un frère aîné.
  — Mais, à défaut d’ennemis, peut-être avez-vous des jaloux : vous allez être nommé capitaine à dix-neuf ans, ce qui est un poste élevé dans votre état ; vous allez épouser une jolie femme qui vous aime, ce qui est un bonheur rare dans tous les états de la terre ; ces deux préférences du destin ont pu vous faire des envieux.


QUESTIONS

  1. Do the expressions mean 'some jealous ones (people)' and 'some envious ones'?

  2. Is there a noun that is implicit at the end? If one had to supply it, what would it be? E.g., hommes, personnes?

  3. If there is an implicit noun at the end, I then recall this bit of grammar (from Oxford French Grammar (1991)):

    The plural indefinite artcle des becomes de (d' before a vowel or h 'mute') when the noun following is preceded by an adjective:

    j'ai eu d'incroyables difficultés, I've had unbelievable difficulties

    This rule is often ignored where the meaning of the phrase centers on the noun rather than the adjective:

    des jolies filles, pretty girls

    It is always ignored where the adjective + noun pair forms a set expression:

    des petits pois, peas
    des petits pains, bread rolls

    Here none of the exceptions would apply. (Specifically the emphasis would rather be on the adjective as the noun is not even expressed.) Should I then understand that there exists a third exception to the effect that des remains des when the noun has been suppressed?

  4. How common is it to say des + plural adjective to mean 'people that have the attribute denoted by the adjective'? Could it even be used as the subject of a clause? Please give examples if possible.

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Jaloux and envieux indeed mean "jealous/envious persons" but are used as substantives here so there is no suppressed noun.

Many descriptive adjectives can be nominalized and have been granted the status of nouns:

Tu es entouré de blondes.

Tu arrives dans la cour des grands.

same for ambitieux, avare, timide, méchant, gentil...

Some, like jaloux and envieux, are not officially nouns but can nevertheless be nominalized, like for example sales, lâches and sauvages.

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Q.2 : Implicit noun ?

In your particular case (jaloux, envieux) : yes! There is some implicit noun. Because jaloux and envieux are adjectives being nominalized. As such, they do carry some noun (the referent) implicitly.

Do not generalize to other adjectives such as some suggested in another answer :

  • blond IS an adjective but also a noun per se. This is indeed (in the examples given) not the adjective being nominalized. Because of the leading article, the noun is being used. => no implicit noun.
  • The same with avare, timide

You can find the categories of the words in Dictionnaire de l'Académie.

e.g. ENVIEUX, -EUSE adj. / BLOND, BLONDE adj. et n.

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