～く creates the 連用形 of 形容詞. For a very small amount of adjectives and other sorts of restrictions, this form can be used nominally.
Words such as 近く, 遠く, 多く, 古く, and 早く are often used as nouns. Such words and phrases involving them are almost always dealing with time and space. Even so, their antonyms are not necessarily applicable with this grammar. For instance, 古く can be used nominally, but 若く cannot. Their use as nouns derives from the 連用形's ability to be used like a noun. This is the case for essentially all verb to varying degrees.
There are three basic things to know about these phrases that have already been mentioned. To be clear, they are:
These words often take the particles へ, から, に, and まで, but they are almost never with other particles like が and を. If you do, the phrase in question must be a set phrase fully nominalized. Though there are particles that they can often be used with, this does not mean you can always use them together.
Consider the following example.
Yuri went far away.
To aim up for the skies.
The swallows were flying up above.
The bottle came and floated (here) from afar on the sea.
Yuri lives near Funabashi Station.
(It) was spread throughout the land.
What's wrong this late (at night)?
I finally arrived at the valley, my destination. I then threw the evidence deep down the valley.
Seth left when it was late out. It was past 2 A.M.
Several words only work well when used right after a noun, creating very commonly used phrases.
Yuri was working from early in the morning until late at night.
To sink deep into the ground.
Angler fish live deep below on the sea floor.
My husband woke up early in the morning.
I come home late in the night almost every day.
The Philippine Trench is on the east side of the Pacific Ocean. There, Yuri dove deep down.
Though these words have been described as involving the nominalization of adjectives through the連用形, it is actually more probable that these are merely the 省略形 (abbreviated form) of statements with these adjectives in the 連体形 followed by some time/place noun. The evidence for this is the ungrammatically of Ex. 15. This example shows that you cannot fully exploit them as nouns unless like in Ex. 2.
15a. 月が古くについて語る。 X
To tell about the ancient moon.
Today, I observed a nearby college.
To use these phrases in isolation, there has to be a clear reference to time or space. In Ex. 17, この噂 refers to a time that acts as the referent for 古く. This point of reference is abbreviated out of the phrase, but without such as phrase existing, you get incorrect sentences like 18a.
This rumor is ancient.
Yuri looked back at the past.
The history goes way back.
多く: The Exceptional Word
多くrefers to quantity and can be used freely like any other noun. It does not follow the rules discussed above.
To receive trust from most of the townspeople.
The function of stopping blood flow is found in a lot of animals.
If all the icebergs were to melt, most of the animals living in Antarctica would go extent.
Reserving medical examinations online is being introduced to many hospitals.
This trend is seen in most of the experiment results.
若く & 浅く: X
若く and 浅く, despite being related to time and space, cannot be used nominally. Yet, their antonyms 古く and 深く can. However, you can still use them in other ways.
The antelope carcass ripped to shreds by the alligator sunk deep below the water.
The capsized boat is teetering.
Sentence Note: Imagine a boat capsized and teetering above and below the surface. Usually, 26c or 26d would be used to describe this, but 26b is not out of the question. Unlike the rest, it is vague as to whether the boat is permanently jutting out of the water or is fully sunken directly below the water but not deep down.
The frog that died from being stabbed with a sharp rod has sunk really deep.
Deep-sea fish are living in a shallow area.
The cruise ship capsized on the coral reefs and is sunken in a shallow spot 10 meters deep.
My younger sister's friend died young.
It's sad that a lot of people die when they are young.
I dived quite far down.
Grammar Note: Using an adverb before these words allows them to stay grammatical as if they were used with another noun before them. However, this cannot be used to expand this pattern to other adjectives.
近く & 遠く
The adjectives 近い and 遠い are somewhat irregular because they can essentially always be used with the particles に, へ, から, and まで in the forms 近く and 遠くrespectively.
Drift somewhere afar. I search for a song that I might sing, one that is now on silent, as I head to the splendid place you are waiting for me.
From DIV's 漂流彼女.
What on Earth are the aliens from near Pluto planning?
I never thought that volcanic ash would fall all the way here since the volcano is so far away.
I want to go to a public bath near Ginkakuji.
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the nearby park.
For 近い, 遠い, 少ない, and 多い, unless part of an entire phrase modifying a noun, they can't be used to modify a noun alone. With exception to 近い and 遠い which we'll get to later, this holds true. In this situation you must use ～くの. However, for 少ない, you have to totally rephrase as 少なくの doesn't exist. 少しの exists, though.
|近い学校 X||遠い大学 X||少ない人 X||多い人 X|
The closest place
39. 近いうちに (Set Phrase)
In the near future
Grammar Note: You can actually say 近く to mean 近いうちに. The form 近々 also exists. This just goes to show you what might be done to an adjective on an individual basis.
It's close to the train station.
To live in an apartment close to the train station.
A school nearby
A college far away
There are a lot of earthquakes in Japan.
There are few people.
Small amount of people
Phrase Note: This phrase is alright because 人数, unlike 人, is a quantity noun. Nevertheless, it's shown to show one way of how to overcome the ungrammaticality of 少ない人.
It seems that 近い and 遠い actually fall out of the problem if a modifier is implied in context. Although not appropriate for writing, using these two without restriction appears to be a feature of the spoken language among younger people.
I don't want to go to a school that's far away.