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Why do some countries start with 'the'?

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Have you ever noticed how we refer to some countries as 'the [country name]' and others just as 'country name'?

How do you know when to use 'the' and when not to?

1) If the name of a country includes the words kingdom, states or republic we use

the when talking about that country.

  • the United Kingdom

  • the United States

  • the Republic of Ireland

  • the People's Republic of China

  • the Kingdom of Bhutan

2) If the name of a country is a plural name such as Netherlands or Philippines we use the.

  • the Netherlands

  • the Philippines

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