American and America's

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zrzhu11

New Member
Chinese-Mandarin
What's the difference between American and America's? For example, American/America's beer? Thanks.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Welcome to the forums, zrzhu11!

    Can you give us a context - including a complete sentence - in which you would like to use either American beer or America's beer?
     

    xyzyxx

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I would think "American" can refer to anything that comes from America or lives in America.

    When I think of "America's", the only thing I could think of where it would be used is for things that belong to the country (i.e. to the government) - America's army, America's President, America's flag. But "American" could still be used with all of those.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "American beer" is any beer made in America, or perhaps made by an American company. That's probably what you want to say.

    "America's beer" would refer to one beer that is uniquely associated with America. If everyone here drank Budweiser (what an awful thought!) then people might refer to Budweiser as "America's beer." The Dallas Cowboys of the professional National Football League, for reasons that go back to 1978 and are discussed on this Wikipedia page, are often called "America's team" as if they symbolize the U.S. That's probably not what you want to say here.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I would think "American" can refer to anything that comes from America or lives in America.

    When I think of "America's", the only thing I could think of where it would be used is for things that belong to the country (i.e. to the government) - America's army, America's President, America's flag. But "American" could still be used with all of those.
    I should have been clearer in my reply, because it sounds as if I disagree with xyzyxx, but I agree with this. However, "America's beer" is unusual. It seems to imply that America has only one beer (just as we have only one army, one president, and one flag). This is hardly the case. I suspect that if anyone uses the expression "America's beer" it will be in advertising. "Drink Blotto, America's beer!" This would imply that Blotto was the one and only beer "real Americans" like. It would be more likely for an advertiser to call it "America's favorite beer!"

    I slightly disagree with xyzyxx that "America's ___" would belong to the government. That is probably true literally, but not figuratively. "America's favorite beer" would be the most popular beer in the U.S.

    For a while it was a trend for advertisers to address the population of the United States as "America." For example, "Hey America, let's get out and enjoy the scenery in a new car!" or "Come on America, buy popcorn!"
     

    zrzhu11

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Thanks for everyone's reply.
    So "American" means things made in or come from America. Can I say XXX is very good American beer if the beer is foreign brand but made in America?
    "America's", as Egmont says uniquely associated with America. In some way, it implies a product is very popular in America.

    So let's see if I got it right. I can say Toyota is America's car (which is very popular in America), but can I say Toyota is American car (maybe I can, because the cars are manufactured in America; maybe not, Toyota is a Japanese brand)?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    "America's car" would not just imply "a car that's very popular in America," but "far and away the most popular car in America." There is no such thing, although Chevrolet tried to position themselves that way for many years with their ads talking about "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet."

    You can start an argument in most bars in the US by claiming that Toyota is "an American car." There is a great deal of controversy over whether we should say that about a car that is assembled here but sold by a Japanese company; it's more a political question than a language question, believe it or not.
     

    zrzhu11

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    "America's car" would not just imply "a car that's very popular in America," but "far and away the most popular car in America." There is no such thing, although Chevrolet tried to position themselves that way for many years with their ads talking about "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet."

    You can start an argument in most bars in the US by claiming that Toyota is "an American car." There is a great deal of controversy over whether we should say that about a car that is assembled here but sold by a Japanese company; it's more a political question than a language question, believe it or not.
    :) I guess I should avoid saying "American XXX", which is a foreign brand. Thanks.
     
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