So, recently I got corrected by a friend when discussing some work aspect (we are both not English natives). I tried to write Californian overtime rules and my friend said that the correct version should be California overtime rules - notice that n is missing. I like to research these things and would like to know which version is correct. And if my friend is right - can you provide any evidence or rule that supports it as I had a hard time formulating a google search for this.

1 Answer 1


According to the rules of grammar we all learnt at school, an adjective is correct here. In cases where there is no suitable adjective you can use the noun, but Californian is a perfectly good adjective.

However I have noticed an increasing trend in the British media (and I assume it is more general) of using nouns for countries and other places, particularly in things that relate to something official such as a rule. Whenever things are in a state of flux, it can be almost impossible to be precise about the rule as some people in some places will be more likely to use one form in some circumstances. To illustrate this I would accept California or United States in this context, but I would never accept England or Scotland.

So the bottom line is that both are acceptable, and we may each have a preference, but you can certainly use Californian if you want to, especially if your friend cannot explain what is wrong with an adjective in this context.

  • Thanks for the answer, David. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving me some confidence in the use of adjective. I think that both me and my friend operate on some weird intuition and are not so big on the formal rules of the language. However I did also notice that e.g. California Law is also quite often used instead of Californian Law.
    – Jefim
    Nov 1, 2018 at 14:20
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    The thing about law is that it belongs to one place and so you can get a local custom growing up. If, for example, the legislators in California call it California law then that form predominates. But legislators at national level refer to American law so that form predominates. In fact I have never heard of *America law. Nov 1, 2018 at 15:01

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