Grammar Tip – Proper Adjectives

Pam’s question: “What is a proper adjective and should you capitalize it?”

BizWritingTip response: A proper adjective is a word derived from a proper noun. For example, Canadian and American are proper adjectives because they are derived from the proper nouns Canada and America. Proper adjectives are always capitalized.

I love Italian desserts. (Italy)
We are going to see a Shakespearean play. (Shakespeare)
He employs Machiavellian tactics. (Machiavelli)

Note: In some cases, the suffix (end of the word) does not change when it becomes a proper adjective. You still capitalize the word.

I like to play Texas poker. (Texas is a proper adjective.)
She is a recognized Hollywood star. (Hollywood is a proper adjective.)