In the UK vs. in UK?

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volver

Senior Member
french belgium
Hello,



Could you please tell me how long Vadim needs to stay in the UK or in UK.



Thank you


VOLVER
 
  • Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello, I learnt it is correct to use the definite article in front of the name of that island. How come even on BBC website they use in UK. Is that also grammatically correct?? I read Available in U.K. only in a TV manual. Thanks a lot.
    You can check e.g.: QUEEN CALLS FOR TOLERANCE IN UK
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4125193.stm
     

    ajlindsay

    Member
    England / English
    Yes, you do always use the definite article before "UK", but in writing headlines and the like, certain articles are sometimes dropped for brevity.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    However they write it, I read it as in the UK.

    May be it's similar to dates.
    I write 12 Dec 2006, but say the twelfth of December
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    german, hindi
    Hello Folks,

    I always say : in the UK, however, have noted sometimes, it's being said only as : in UK.

    Why so?

    Examples : Life is easy in the UK.

    : Life is easy in UK.

    Please help.

    Cheers,
    Sau.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would consider 'in UK' a kind of 'telegraphic' form, only to be used headlines or maybe labels. In ordinary speech and writing, I would always use 'in the UK'.

    Where have you encountered 'in UK'?
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    german, hindi
    I would consider 'in UK' a kind of 'telegraphic' form, only to be used headlines or maybe labels. In ordinary speech and writing, I would always use 'in the UK'.

    Where have you encountered 'in UK'?

    Thank you for your reply, Natkretep.

    I've heard my native UK friend saying that even in ordinary speech.

    I always say The UK, too.
     
    Very interesting thread, Saurabh. :)

    I'd like to expand on the main issue a bit:

    What about the formal and semi-formal writings? Would "in the United Kingdom" or "in United Kingdom" be preferable? Also, should it be "in the Great Britain" or "in Great Britain". Somehow, to my ear, the former (I mean, the one about the UK) sounds odd without the article, whereas the latter sounds odd with it.
     
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    Archstudent

    Senior Member
    English - North London
    It's not because of the abbreviation, its because United Kingdom is not a proper noun, whereas Britain is, so you only have to say in GB, or in Great Britain. Again, with USA, the noun in question is "states", which is not a proper noun, so again you have to use the definite article.
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    german, hindi
    It's not because of the abbreviation, its because United Kingdom is not a proper noun, whereas Britain is, so you only have to say in GB, or in Great Britain. Again, with USA, the noun in question is "states", which is not a proper noun, so again you have to use the definite article.

    Thank you, Archstudent :)

    Like that :)
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    What about the formal and semi-formal writings? Would "in the United Kingdom" or "in United Kingdom" be preferable?
    It is in the United Kingdom (or the UK) at all levels of natural speech (that is, excluding "telegraphic" or "headline" speech as described by naktretep). It would be exceptional for a native speaker to omit the in normal speech or writing (I don't recall ever hearing it), and you would find there was a particular reason for their doing so. Either that, or you have misheard them.
     
    It is in the United Kingdom (or the UK) at all levels of natural speech (that is, excluding "telegraphic" or "headline" speech as described by naktretep). It would be exceptional for a native speaker to omit the in normal speech or writing (I don't recall ever hearing it), and you would find there was a particular reason for their doing so. Either that, or you have misheard them.
    Thank you for your clarification. However, I haven't misheard them, but perhaps, you have misread my post, as I clearly wrote:

    linguos said:
    Somehow, to my ear, the former (I mean, the one about the UK) sounds odd without the article, whereas the latter sounds odd with it.
    Which means that I have always heard "in the United Kingdom" and "in Great Britain" as opposed to "in UK" and "in the GB". I just wanted to make sure I've got it the right way round.

    Anyway, once again thanks to natkretep, Archstudent and you for taking away all the doubts. :)
     
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    It's not because of the abbreviation, its because United Kingdom is not a proper noun, whereas Britain is, so you only have to say in GB, or in Great Britain. Again, with USA, the noun in question is "states", which is not a proper noun, so again you have to use the definite article.

    This is thoroughly wrong. "United Kingdom" is a proper noun, just as "United States of America" is a proper noun. To allege that "United Kingdom" cannot be a proper noun because the word kingdom, used by itself in other contexts, is a common noun, is nonsense. It is like saying that because "will" can be a common noun, and "smith" can be a common noun, that Will Smith is therefore not a proper noun.

    Thank you, Archstudent :)

    Like that :)

    You shouldn't like it too well, because it is not correct.
     

    Archstudent

    Senior Member
    English - North London
    This is thoroughly wrong. "United Kingdom" is a proper noun, just as "United States of America" is a proper noun. To allege that "United Kingdom" cannot be a proper noun because the word kingdom, used by itself in other contexts, is a common noun, is nonsense. It is like saying that because "will" can be a common noun, and "smith" can be a common noun, that Will Smith is therefore not a proper noun.



    You shouldn't like it too well, because it is not correct.


    Proper nouns do not need a definite article. United Kingdom and United States of America both need the definite article. The only words we are interested in are kingdom and state. They are used in this case as their common nouns, and should therefore be preceded by the definite article.

    Your analogy with Will and Smith is a bad comparison. Will is short for William, and Smith is a name. When you address someone as Mr Smith, you aren't using the same intentional meaning as the common noun smith (small s). Kingdom is not a name, and neither is state.
     
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    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    It is in the United Kingdom (or the UK) at all levels of natural speech (that is, excluding "telegraphic" or "headline" speech as described by naktretep). It would be exceptional for a native speaker to omit the in normal speech or writing (I don't recall ever hearing it), and you would find there was a particular reason for their doing so. Either that, or you have misheard them.

    It's pretty common in headlines, but not in the text of newspapers.

    Headline from The Guardian 20 June 2011: 3D TV 'set to struggle in UK'

    Another headline from The Guardian 30 May 2011 "Environmental tax threatens green energy research in UK"

    And a headline from The Daily Telegraph, Almost one in eight people living in UK are born abroad
    The text of the piece has "Almost one in eight people living in the UK are now foreign born..."

    In The Sun you'll find "Japan radiation in UK" 29 March 2011.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    Here are some rules for how the definite article is used in English with geographical entities. I've found these rules to be very useful. The rules haven't failed me yet ;)

    1. Use "the" --> When there is not a clear boundary or dividing line.
    e.g. deserts, rivers, gulfs

    2. Do not use "the" --> When there is a clear, definite boundary or dividing line.
    e.g. countries, lakes, cities

    3. Use "the" --> When talking about a group of things.
    e.g. the Alps, the US

    Rule number 3 applies to "the United Kingdom", "the UK"
    Rule number 2 applies to "Great Britain"
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    3. Use "the" --> When talking about a group of things.
    e.g. the Alps, the US

    Rule number 3 applies to "the United Kingdom", "the UK"
    No it does not. It's a kingdom. It happens to comprise three kingdoms and a principality, but The United Kingdom is a single state and certainly not a group, politically quite different from The United States of America and The Federal Republic of Germany, both of which are federations and, therefore, groups.

    It is no different from the most definitely not groups of anything:
    Denmark = The Kingdom of Denmark
    Monaco = The Principality of Monaco
    France = The Republic of France

    (all of which have clear boundaries but all of which require "the")

    Of course, The United Kingdom is in any case an abbreviation. The state's actual name is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    Andygc...
    Ok, after reading what you wrote and thinking about it, I still think the rule I mentioned applies. You pointed out in your post that the United Kingdom is made up of three kingdoms and a principality, so that means it is a group of entities that form a single state. The word "united" in the name implies that it is a group of entities. So, since it refers to a group of entities that form a single entity, then #3 would apply, i.e. use the definite article.

    The same applies to "the Kingdom of Denmark", which consists of Denmark, the Faroe islands, and Greenland, so it refers to a group of entities that form a single state.

    It's the same with "the United States", which refers to a group of entities (states) that form a single entity, a country.

    When the name of a country is referred to without also indicating the system of government in the country (e.g. "the republic of..."), then rule #2 applies (no article is used):
    Denmark
    Monaco
    France
    America
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Andygc...
    Ok, after reading what you wrote and thinking about it, I still think the rule I mentioned applies. You pointed out in your post that the United Kingdom is made up of three kingdoms and a principality, so that means it is a group of entities that form a single state. The word "united" in the name implies that it is a group of entities.

    The same applies to "the Kingdom of Denmark", which consists of Denmark, the Faroe islands, and Greenland, so it refers to a group of entities that form a single state.

    It's the same with "the United States", which refers to a group of entities (states) that form a single entity, a country.

    Sorry but it does not apply. Any time the focus is on 'republic', 'kingdom', 'empire' or anything that is not a proper noun, then 'the' will be used. Picking out examples of such things which are plurals does not prove your point, because I can just as easily list the Kingdom of Scotland, the Emirate of Dubai, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Principality of Monaco, etc. Also, when we call them 'America, 'China', 'Britain' etc, there is no definite article.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    That's what I said ... When the system of government is referred to then use "the"... That's what I said! I really don't see how what you said counters what I said!

    What about other geographical entities? Like deserts, mountains, oceans, counties, etc. Try the rules with those too and see how they work. Like I said, I've found the rules very useful.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    That's what I said ... When the system of government is referred to then use "the"... That's what I said! I really don't see how what you said counters what I said!

    What about other geographical entities? Like deserts, mountains, oceans, counties, etc. Try the rules with those too and see how they work. Like I said, I've found the rules very useful.

    You claim that the fact that the United Kingdom and USA are made up of seperate entities is relevent to the question of whether you use the definite article. It is not. Rule three is incorrect, the rest are fine.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    Copperknickers....Yes! The rule works, and that is what is most important. For people acquiring English who speak languages that don't use articles the rules (including #3) help with using articles accurately in these situations. These rules are intended to be helpful for learners to be able to use articles accurately in these situations, and the rules do work. You haven't provided any evidence that they don't work.

    Rule #3 also applies to:
    the Philippines
    the Netherlands
    the Alps
    the Faroe islands
    etc...

    Copperknickers, you have not yet provided any counter evidence to show that the rule does not work. In your post in #18 you wrote, "Any time the focus is on 'republic', 'kingdom', 'empire' or anything that is not a proper noun, then 'the' will be used." In that statement, you basically said (more eloquently) the same thing I said in #17 when I wrote, "When the name of a country is referred to without also indicating the system of government in the country (e.g. "the republic of..."), then rule #2 applies (no article is used):
    France (as opposed to therepublic of France)"

    The examples you provided in #18 fit what I wrote in #17:
    the Kingdom of Scotland:
    the Kingdom of Sweden:
    --> if you don't like thinking of these as collections of entities (they both are, or were at one time) then you could think of what I said above that when a system of government is included then use "the", and when the system of government is not included, then omit "the", i.e. rule #2. Examples: "the Kingdom of Scotland"/"Scotland", "the Kingdom of Sweden"/"Sweden""

    the Emirates of Dubai
    --> the form here is more commonly "the United Arab Emirates", which coincides with rule #3 (a collection). If you say it your way ("Emirates of Dubai"), then what I said above that when a system of government is included then use "the", applies. If "emirates" is not included, then it's just "Dubai", rule #2

    the Principality of Monaco
    --> What I said above that when a system of government is included then use "the", applies. If "principality" is not included, then it's just "Monaco", rule #2

    Also, in #18 you wrote "Also, when we call them 'America, 'China', 'Britain' etc, there is no definite article." I agree totally, that conforms to rule #2 that I wrote in #15.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    OK

    The Algarve - a province of Portugal, clearly defined boundaries, not a group of anything, no mention of the form of government, but it is The Algarve, much loved by sun-worshipping, golfing Brits. (In British English, of course, not in Portugese, when it is just Algarve)

    However, I see your point and I can accept that your rule can work most of the time.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    Thanks Andygc! :) That's very interesting about the Algarve. I have to admit I've never heard of the Algarve. Sounds like a nice place. So, why do you think a definite article is used for the Algarve? I'm intrigued.

    Ok, I just looked up the Algarve on the internet and I see that it comes from an Arabic word meaning "the west." On the website I looked at they transliterated the Arabic word as "al gharb" so I see that it includes the definite article in Arabic "al." I wonder if that might have something to do with why "the" is used when referring to the Algarve? To signify that it comes from an Arabic word that contains the definite article and means "the west"? It's just a guess! What do you think?

    It reminds me of something I've thought about before that I thought was funny. In the SW in the US there's a river that is referred to as "the Rio Grande river." I've always thought that was a bit funny because "Rio Grande" means "Big River" so when people call it the "Rio Grande river" they are calling it "the Big river river." Anyway, that might be something totally different but the Algarve reminded me of it.
     

    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Many names in Portuguese, Algarve included, have "O/A" (The), when used in a phrase, so I understand "The Algarve" is just a translation from Portuguese.

    <Deleted: this forum is strictly English only>
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    And one more example of something that might go either way.. You can say Gambia or the Gambia.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    Really? Interesting, "the Gambia" is not intuitive to me and I've never heard or read it. In what context would the article occur with "Gambia"? Why is an article sometimes used? Do others say "the Gambia" or have they ever heard or read it? Do others know of other similar examples?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    There are 70 occurrences of 'the Gambia' in the British National Corpus. Some quick examples:

    Five sets of studies were undertaken on adults and children in England and in the Gambia. (Medical text)

    Relations with west African countries Babangida visited The Gambia in mid-February 1990 as chief guest of honour (non-academic text)

    I've just come back from the Gambia and I haven't stopped what you've just said now, (conversation)

    " I hear they have very cheap packages to the Gambia in January. " (fictional prose)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The thread has moved from the discussion of a specific instance of the use of "the" with a geographical entity to the development of a more general rule. As the above posts indicate, an attempt to agree on a general rule that will apply to all cases is futile, so I am closing the thread.

    However, the discussion of possible formulations and the issues involved in deciding whether or not to use the definite article may be useful in the future so I am leaving the thread as a resource.

    Anyone who has a question about any particular instance should start a new thread.

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this one.

    :)

    Cagey, moderator.
     
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