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

Chemistry department

Not chemical department


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.


Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?


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)