In the phrase

Как такое могло случиться в Соединенных Штатах?

, why is the adjective такое being used as a noun?

  • and why not?...
    – Abakan
    Mar 15, 2021 at 12:18
  • In this context,"такое" = 'such a thing'.
    – Alex_ander
    Mar 16, 2021 at 18:03

4 Answers 4


This is an example of nominalization.

It is what happens when a part of speech other than a noun starts to act as a noun in sentences.

In this particular case, такое is a collective adjective: a nominalized adjective which denotes a class or a group of things which share the property described by the adjective.

It is common both in Russian: мне идёт чёрное; не путай тёплое с мягким; подобное лечится подобным and in English: "Orange is the new black; eat fresh; think different".

In Russian, such adjectives are usually used in neuter singular.

Your phrase can be translated to English this way:

How could such happen in the United States?

which almost perfectly parallels the Russian construct.


"Как такое [происшествие] могло случиться в Соединённых Штатах?" The noun "событие" is dropped and should be inferred from the context. I this case "такое" is an adjective.

For example: "Какая машина нравится тебе? Мне - красная. А мне - синяя."


"Takoe" can be both an adjective and a pronoun. Here we have a pronoun "this" used as a subject. I.e. How could all this have happened in the USA?

  • Thanks, могло is the past form of can but in russian, it can be 'could' and could have? like "it could be true' "she could have forgotten about it" as in "it is possibble thhat she forgot about the meeting?
    – user21669
    Feb 19, 2021 at 8:56
  • what about "i could speak English when I was a child'" is the same past form used here too?
    – user21669
    Feb 19, 2021 at 8:58
  • "She could have forgotten about it"-"Ona mogla (possibly) zabit..."
    – Eugene
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:05
  • There's one form for all kinds of past tenses existing in English, i.e. it will be always могло, могла, мог with a simple infinitive and a perfect as well.
    – V.V.
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:05
  • "I could speak English"-"Ya mog razgovarivat na Angliiskom"
    – Eugene
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:08

It's translated as "How that can happen?". "такое=that"

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