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srirr
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 4:29:21 AM

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I have noticed (and hope you have too) that the nations like USA, UAE, UK, USSR (former) take the definite article "the" with them. Like the USA, the UK. Other nations are not preceded by "the". Its simply India, France, Japan. In other words, the India, the Japan is considered wrong. And idea why this?

What I can figure out that the nations that are preceded by the definite article, are united association of states/provinces. Thats why they take "the". Am I correct? Or is there any other reason?

But then, I have seen the usage for some other countries which are not united association, but they are preceded by "the". For example, the Philippines, the Maldives.
Lady Penelope
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 5:09:05 AM
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Could it be that they have more than one part. USA = several states, UK = several countries, Philippines and Maldives = several islands.

Just a thought, I am sure one of the members will give a fuller explanation.
Babezy
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 5:29:01 AM
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But isn't Indonesia a series of islands? I think the reason for the difference is that names like "the USA" are a description as well as a place name--"the lady named Mary" instead of "Mary." For example, "the United Kingdom" describes what that confederation of countries is, while "Wales" is a place name without a description. So you'd say, "Indonesia," but "the islands of Indonesia." Some names may once have been description names ("England" maybe once was "the Anglo land" or however you'd say it) and then became just a place name as time went on and the language modernized.
srirr
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 6:04:25 AM

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Lady Penelope wrote:

Could it be that they have more than one part. USA = several states, UK = several countries, Philippines and Maldives = several islands.

Just a thought, I am sure one of the members will give a fuller explanation.


Thats what I thought, too. But then there is Japan, several islands. But we donot use The Japan.
mailady
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 6:41:43 AM
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It's the word "united" that needs "the" with it.
Lady Penelope
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 6:48:53 AM
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Well that blew my theory out of the water. It may just be one of those idiosyncrasies that come to baffle us.

Where is JJ when you need him, he usually has a good answer.
uuaschbaer
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 6:49:39 AM

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No it's "States" and "Kingdom" to which "the" belongs. And "lands" in the Netherlands. If the name of a country is simply one or more objects then we treat it as such. If Japan was called "The Islands Of The East" then we would use "the" because "island" is a noun and a thing, whereas "Japan" is not (a Japan, two Japans–doesn't work).
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 7:23:30 AM

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Lady Penelope wrote:

Well that blew my theory out of the water. It may just be one of those idiosyncrasies that come to baffle us.

Where is JJ when you need him, he usually has a good answer.


Thanks Pen, here I am.

There are united states in the world (and united states in America) but only one sovereign The United States of America.
Also if we think a country is an entity of smaller parts (island, lands...) we use a definite article.
A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener.
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 8:04:10 AM
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You have still got me JJ, maybe you need to type a little slowwer for me. ha ha
The Australia,???
6 States & 2 Territories.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 8:26:15 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
You have still got me JJ, maybe you need to type a little slowwer for me. ha ha
The Australia,???
6 States & 2 Territories.


But it is The Commonwealth of Australia.
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 8:37:49 AM
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Thank goodness English is my first and only language, I dont think I would ever learn it.
Discombobulated
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 8:49:37 AM
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srirr wrote:
I have noticed (and hope you have too) that the nations like USA, UAE, UK, USSR (former) take the definite article "the" with them. Like the USA, the UK. Other nations are not preceded by "the". Its simply India, France, Japan. In other words, the India, the Japan is considered wrong. And idea why this?



I have never really thought about this before! In the above examples they all begin with U... perhaps the U is the reason for the The? Dancing

Nah, i think JJ as ever, has given the agreeable response
RuthP
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 9:45:22 AM

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Just to confuse the issue, the full name of the country we call México is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. No "the," but then it's not in English, either.
The Saurus
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 10:10:13 AM
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RuthP wrote:
Just to confuse the issue, the full name of the country we call México is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. No "the," but then it's not in English, either.


When referring to its full name though, isn't it los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, which translates to "The United States of México"? I believe the definite article is added whenever you actually say the full name, similar to "the United States of America" versus just "America."
AnthA1G
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 11:58:47 PM

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uuaschbaer wrote:
No it's "States" and "Kingdom" to which "the" belongs. And "lands" in the Netherlands. If the name of a country is simply one or more objects then we treat it as such. If Japan was called "The Islands Of The East" then we would use "the" because "island" is a noun and a thing, whereas "Japan" is not (a Japan, two Japans–doesn't work).


Agree...

PS: With you too, JJ.Anxious
mihermano
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 9:45:45 AM
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Plural is implied. It's a group, or collection of ...
(America, The Americas)
Maybe 'we' have sometimes, and sometimes not, included "the" in a country's name because it simply sounded better, 'n' that. Think
RuthP
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:52:32 AM

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The Saurus wrote:
RuthP wrote:
Just to confuse the issue, the full name of the country we call México is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. No "the," but then it's not in English, either.


When referring to its full name though, isn't it los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, which translates to "The United States of México"? I believe the definite article is added whenever you actually say the full name, similar to "the United States of America" versus just "America."


That is a good question, which I cannot answer. I speak a few words of Mexican Spanish, but do not speak Spanish by any stretch of the imagination.

I remembered someone taking offense at "the States" being used to refer solely to the U.S., because he (I think it was a he) was also from Estados Unidos.
Messalina
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 5:54:43 AM
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srirr wrote:
Lady Penelope wrote:

Could it be that they have more than one part. USA = several states, UK = several countries, Philippines and Maldives = several islands.

Just a thought, I am sure one of the members will give a fuller explanation.


Thats what I thought, too. But then there is Japan, several islands. But we donot use The Japan.


The Philippine Islands and the Maldive Islands, but not the Japan Islands.
Geeman
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 3:14:25 PM

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A couple of folks have touched on this, but let me see if I can explain it in different terms.

When the title of a nation, region or really any organization is a combination of several different units, that larger organization gets "the" in front of it. So, we say "The United States of America" because we refer to the "states" in that title. But we just say "America" to refer to the same country. (Some folks will point out that "America" is really two continents, not just the U.S. but that's another issue.)

Similarly, we say "Great Britain" when referring to that organization of regions (primarily Wales, N. Ireland, England and Scotland) but we say "The United Kingdom" when referring to (nearly) the same group because that title references the individual kingdoms that make it up. "The Netherlands" refers to the individual lands that are now considered one country.

If we think of organizations not countries it makes a bit more sense. We say "the companies of DuPont" to refer to the individual companies that make up the larger corporation, but could still just say "DuPont" to refer to the corporation too. We say "the Islands of the Phillipines" because we are specifically talking about the different land bodies. In fact, in that case "The Phillipines" is still a title that implies the combined islands into one nation. In contrast, "The Islands of Japan" and "Japan" are the same nation, but without "The Islands" to introduce the title, we leave out the article.

Another way to think of this is what I like to call "The Empire Rule." If a nation is being given a title that directly refers to the fact that it is an amalgamation of more than one smaller unit then it gets "The" in front of it. Russia is "The Russian Empire." China is "The Empire of China." Etc.

I hope that helps.
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