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Are there any rules to use noun attributively? How do we know which combinations are valid and natural?

Chemistry department

Not chemical department

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Language is not math. There are no rules. You have to learn each individual case as it comes along.

He likes California/Californian wine.

He likes Californian literature.

CB

Comments  
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

Thanks.

So you say California or californian wine

But why can't we say California literature?

There must be some explanation.

For "literature" and a region or country, you need the adjective form:

  • French literature
  • Chinese literature
  • American literature

These are wrong: France literature, China literature or America literature.


For "wine," "California wine" is more of a set phrase. It is not the usual pattern.

  • French wine (Not France wine)
  • German wine (Not Germany wine)
  • Chilean wine (Not Chile wine)