You’re probably aware that proper nouns are words that name a specific person, object, or place. You probably also know that proper nouns are always capitalized. But did you know that adjectives are sometimes proper, too? Read on to find out more about proper adjectives.
What is a Proper Adjective?
The vast majority of adjectives are common adjectives just as the majority of nouns are common nouns. Neither common adjectives nor common nouns begin with a capital letter.
When an adjective has its roots as a proper noun, it is said to be a proper adjective. Just like a proper noun, proper adjectives always begin with a capital letter.
For example, the noun country is a common noun but the word Italy is proper. Consider the following sentence:
In this case the word Italian is a proper adjective because it has its origin in the proper noun Italy. Proper adjectives are often used to explicitly describe something. They also make writing clearer and more succinct. Look at the sentences below.
The second sentence uses a proper adjective Shakespearian to convey clear meaning in few words.
See the difference?
Examples of Proper Adjectives
In the following sentences the proper adjectives are italicized. The proper nouns from which they originate are in parentheses.
In some cases you can convert a proper noun into a proper adjective simply by adding suffixes –ian, -an, or –esque to a proper noun. In other cases, the spelling of the proper noun isn’t changed at all as in Hollywood stars, or Texas poker. In any event, proper adjectives are among the easiest to recognize and form. Use them for explicit and specific descriptions in your writing.