From federal officials to NPR news hosts (and at many points between), I'm hearing American people (who should know) refer to our country as "United States", whereas I was taught (about 40 years ago) to call our nation "The United States". Why and when did people start dropping the article?
I don't need convincing that it sounds wrong. I'm on board with that. I'd like to know why educated people started choosing to drop the definite article. Is this a thing worth keeping or even caring about--like whether you put your comma inside or outside of a quotation mark? I'm ready to be convinced that I'm the one doing it wrong, but you'll need to make a strong, sound argument.