In today’s post I wanted to share a little bit of a grammar lesson with you. Since I’ve been blogging about Hawaii as a great vacation destination, I started noticing that sometimes people incorrectly use the word Hawaiian when they should actually use the word Hawaii.
Do you know when you should use the word Hawaiian and when you shouldn’t? For most of us mainlanders it can be a bit of a mystery that sometimes results in an accidental mistake. I have to admit that I’ve incorrectly use the words in the past.
To better understand how to use Hawaiian, let’s look at the word’s definition. As a noun, the word Hawaiian has these meanings:
- Members of the ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands (Source). Note that a resident of Hawaii is not necessarily a Hawaiian unless they are of specific Hawaiian descent.
- The native language of Hawaii
As an adjective, Hawaiian refers to:
- Relating to the land and/or indigenous people and culture and native language of Hawaii.
Let’s now look at some examples of the words in use:
Incorrect: I found a great Hawaiian airfare sale on American Airlines’ Web site.
Correct: I found a great airfare sale to Hawaii on American Airlines’ Web site.
Incorrect: I’m going on a Hawaiian vacation.
Correct: I’m going on a Hawaii vacation.
When I get confused on if I should use Hawaii or Hawaiian, I substitute another state into the sentence and ask myself if it sounds right. For example, if I’m planning a vacation to Florida, I wouldn’t ever say I’m going on a Floridian vacation. Or let’s say I’m looking for airfare to New Mexico, I’d never say I’m looking for New Mexican airfare deals. That would sound silly, wouldn’t it?
Now let me explain that I’m no grammar girl, so my explanations may not be absolute, but it is my best understanding. I hope that you’ve found this little grammar lesson to be interesting. Are there any other ways you have seen these words misused? Any thoughts you’d like to add on this topic? I’d love to hear them!