Does the expression "The States" have any currency in AE when referring to the US, or is it chiefly used by native English speakers from outside?

  • 8
    It's not used by AmE in the US. But it is used by AmE speakers outside. – Mitch Mar 7 '14 at 3:29
  • Agree w/ @Mitch - usually preceeded by "(Back) In..." – anongoodnurse Mar 7 '14 at 3:55
  • Also, I actually prefer 'the States' (when speaking outside the US). 'America', whatever political correctness might recommend, is avoidable because it sounds so grandiose, like you're about to breakout in song, – Mitch Mar 7 '14 at 12:54

We would only use it when comparing the US to something other than the US. We do not refer to our country as "The States" while simply talking about ourselves. We normally use:

  • America
  • The US
  • The United States
  • Our specific state (e.g. Texas)

Example usage of the States:

Back in the States we eat our hotdogs with ketchup, relish and mustard.

Compared to the States, Canada is very cold.

That being said, we certainly know what it means. (Unless you are referring to some other country with States. We, uh, don't typically know about things like that.)

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  • Nothing much in support. – Kris Mar 8 '14 at 5:36

Interview to Ukrains'ka Pravda, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft, US Emb, Kiev Ukr., Dec.28, (2012) 14:52

Have you seen Mr. Kuzmin’s latest interview?
Yes, he says he is going to the States, right?
He says he has been invited to the Prayer Breakfast held by President Barak Obama, and he will apply for a new U.S. visa.


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