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Using the definite article before a country/state name

I am from India, and I do not say that I am from “the India”. But someone from USA would say “I am from the United States of America.” Why do you need to use the extra “the” in the second case?

  • India is a proper noun. Though name of country is the Republic of India. – Dheerendra Nov 29 '15 at 14:54

Very simply:

If the country name is common nouns, use the - the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom.

If it is a group of islands, use the - the Bahamas, the Maldives.

If it the name is common nouns followed by 'of', use the - the United States of America, the Peoples Republic of China.

If the name is taken from a geographical feature, you should use the - the Yemen, the Lebanon. This last one is declining though.

India is just a plain old proper noun, like a persons name, and hence takes no article.

| improve this answer | |
  • Apart from fishingintheyemen.com? There's a question too. – Andrew Leach Sep 26 '12 at 13:08
  • "Often heard with 'the': Argentine, Congo, Gambia, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Netherlands, Philippines, Bahamas, Ukraine" -> bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18233844 I agree that I haven't often heard 'The Yemen' outside that excellent film, but I have rarely heard 'the Sudan' or the 'the Lebanon' either. – Roaring Fish Sep 26 '12 at 13:25
  • I always use The with all those names, but then I'm reactionary. – Andrew Leach Sep 26 '12 at 13:53
  • @Andrew: Do you mean "retrograde" or "retrogressive" (tending towards or resulting in a worse state {retrograde ideas}) rather than "reactionary" (wanting to preserve outmoded traditions). – user21497 Sep 26 '12 at 16:47
  • 1
    No, I meant reactionary. – Andrew Leach Sep 26 '12 at 18:04

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