Misc.: Sequence of tenses

May 7, 2009: Issue 288

Most city and state names can also function as adjectives:
a Tennessee garden
my San Francisco cousins
Minnesota quilters

When you add a suffix, you create a noun for a person who lives there:
a Tennessean who gardens
the San Franciscans in my family
Minnesotans who quilt

Most names of countries, however, need a suffix or a change in form to serve as adjectives:
Chinese tradition
Swedish design
African cloth

Can you tell us why? We’ve searched for an explanation for these rules and can’t find one. Can you? Share it, and you could win a prize.

Back to Style on the Go Archive
Back to BHG Stylebook Table of Contents