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My grammar book explains that "Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns."
I am confused by the example it gives:
California vegetables (from the noun "California")
It says that California is the proper noun, and I understand that. That would make "vegetables" the proper adjective. The problem I'm having is, isn't vegetables also a noun? It seems to me like "vegetables" would be the subject, it's the key point of focus. Wouldn't that make California the adjective because it's describing what kind of vegetables?
Also, why isn't this a compound noun?
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Hi,

My grammar book explains that "Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns."



I am confused by the example it gives:

California vegetables (from the noun "California") I would say that the proper adjective here would be 'Californian'.

It says that California is the proper noun, and I understand that. That would make "vegetables" the proper adjective. <<< No, 'vegetables' is the noun that is being described. The problem I'm having is, isn't vegetables also a noun? <<< Yes. It seems to me like "vegetables" would be the subject, it's the key point of focus. <<< Yes Wouldn't that make California the adjective because it's describing what kind of vegetables?<<< Yes.

Also, why isn't this a compound noun?
This is what I'd call it. As I said, the adjectival form would be 'Californian'.

Best wishes, Clive
Comments  
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You've run into a common English grammar argument here.

In the expression California vegetables, the word California (though usually a noun) has effectively become an adjective modifying vegetables. Your grammar book is confusing you needlessly here; it has nothing to do with proper nouns at all and everything to do with the ability of the English language to take a noun and use it as an adjective with another noun (sometimes called a nominal adjective):

government policy

town centre

horse manure

JJM
It is a very poor example of a proper adjective. The book should have used something like Mexican hat. When a proper noun is used as an adjective, it becomes a proper adjective. It is not a compound noun because it is not a specific, known item, like player piano. You won't find California vegetables in the dictionary. Hope that helps.
Thanks for clarifying the issue for me. I have one remaining issue. It seems that only SOME nouns can become nominal adectives and some cannot. For example, California is used earlier as a nominal adjective. But if you tried to replace "California" with "America," you would need to use "American" instead. So is there a rule, or is it case by case tradition?
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