Re: the correct wording for "the" United Kingdom

Subject: Re: the correct wording for "the" United Kingdom
From: Grail <talthane -at- mac -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 10:05:31 +0100

I'm 99% certain (ha!) that you do use the definite article. "We have an office in United Kingdom" would be marked as wrong in any proofreading - after all, on that basis, you would also write "We have an office in United States". has a good explanation of why, which I'll reproduce here. In essence, there are two groups of countries whose names require the article; those with plural names such as the United States and the Netherlands, and those with adjectival or compound forms which require the article such as the United Kingdom, the Dominion of Canada, or the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Confusingly, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales drop the article and are treated as proper names ("England are scheduled to lose to Argentina in this year's World Cup...").

But to select an American source, says "Do not use a/an or the with the specific names of continents, countries, cities, states, counties, mountains, lakes, islands, beaches, streets, avenues or parks [with the following] exceptions : groups of islands or lakes or mountain ranges; names with plural forms; names containing Union, United, Kingdom, Republic, Empire, or Dynasty". [Southeast Missouri State University]

The UK and US roughly parallel one another anyway :

"UK attitudes to football are..." (adjectival, no article)
"The UK's attitudes to football are.." (noun, article)
"US attitudes to soccer are.." (adjectival, no article)
"The US' attitude to soccer is..." (noun, article)

PS: A search on google for "united kingdom definite article" (no quotes) will reveal the links cited above and others.

Rob Partridge wrote:

Hmmm... Not sure... I checked with the Guardian's online style guide - a
nice resource to have handy
(,5817,,00.html) and it seems to imply
that there is no definite article:

United Kingdom

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. UK is generally preferable in
copy as well as headlines

these terms are synonymous: Britain is the official short form of United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Used as adjectives,
therefore, British and UK mean the same. Great Britain, however, refers only
to the mainland of England, Wales and


Save $600: Create great-looking Help files and software demos with
RoboHelp Deluxe. Get RoboHelp and RoboDemo - our new demo software - for one
low price. OR Save $100 on RoboHelp Office in June with our mail-in rebate.
Go to

Your monthly sponsorship message here reaches more than
5000 technical writers, providing 2,500,000+ monthly impressions.
Contact Eric (ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com) for details and availability.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

RE: the correct wording for "the" United Kingdom: From: Rob Partridge

Previous by Author: STORY: Goober's Best Conversation of the Day
Next by Author: Dave Barry column on why people don't read manuals - how to make them read manuals...
Previous by Thread: RE: the correct wording for "the" United Kingdom
Next by Thread: RE: the correct wording for "the" United Kingdom

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads