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This is probably explains it the best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10=PLqs5ohhass_QZtSkX06DmWOaEaadwmw_D
To be fair, in one of my first English lessons ever - in 5th grade - 10 year-old me was taught about this distinction (we're taught BrEn over here) - our schoolbooks had a map of the British Isles and its division into constituent countries together with their flags (I love geography and vexillology, so I was in my element) and how the flags of England, Scotland and NI are part of the flag of the UK.
That said, most people probably didn't pay attention to those classes, because we use "Inglaterra" as a metonym for the UK and GB regardless of what or whom we're talking about (just like no one will use "Países Baixos" instead of "Holanda", but I'd blame word length for that).
England = GB/UK is used commonly in France, too. The main reason for this, in my view, is that England is/was the dominant imperial force in the United Kingdom, and conquered those other annoying little countries, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Wales was never a kingdom, always a principality, as far as I know, too.
Ireland managed to get most of their country back, except for 6 counties in Ulster that couldn't make up their mind (someone will correct me on this). The Scots finally got their parliament a few years back.
(Home rule for Essex, I say!)
Wales and NI also have devolved Parliaments called National Assemblies (with less ample powers than the Scottish Parliament); and technically NI opted out of becoming a part of the Irish Free State when it was formed in 1922 (via a devolved Parliament created in 1920 and that was dominated for fifty years by the Ulster Unionist Party)
Like, for real though, don't say that to a Scottish person. Ever. Especially not in Scotland. There is so much resentment toward the English. I'm only British in heritage, but I studied abroad in the UK and when we visited Scotland and mentioned that the school at which we were studying was in England, disappointed looks abounded. They were even less impressed when I mentioned being mostly Scottish because I'm also English and Irish. The Scotts are proud, and unless you're prepared to make a strong case against them and risk forever being out of favor with the people to whom you speak, I recommend not offending their pride.
hey I missed that! The forty four states. Is that a reference to a handgun other than a colt .45 ?
There's an old blues song about a forty four, there's probably more than one. But the United states of New England strikes me as a good call, but I'm worried about what might happen if you removed all those good people from the union and what it might do to the balance of thinking.
There are a number of reasons:
- England is not an isle/island
- England is always capitalised
- You never use the definite article before England, or any other country for that matter, in English.
UKRAINE: (from mentalfloss.com: "Until a few decades ago, Ukraine was almost always referred to as the Ukraine. Then people started dropping the definite article, and now you almost never see it. What gives?
The 'the' has stirred up a lot of strong resentment in Ukraine. The feeling is that the definite article’s heavy use during the era of the Soviet Union by Russians and Westerners alike belittled, intentionally or not, Ukrainians, and demoted Ukraine from a country unto itself to a mere Soviet holding, a border region of the U.S.S.R.
Most historians and linguists agree that the name Ukraine comes from the Slavic ukraina, meaning “borderlands.”
VATICAN, the name 'Vatican' comes from the Vatican Hill (mons vaticanus) - a place of oracles.
GAMBIA ? got me
SUDAN - is now two countries: the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan (or northern Sudan)
Anyway, it's just my hypothesis, that some countries has the definite article before their name and others don't, depending on the origin of the name.
You might be interested in this link:
I grew up hearing about "The Lebanon" (the article has since disappeared) and some theorize that the article attached to "The Gambia" is/was there to avoid confusion with Zambia.
NY has five boroughs, one being The Bronx - named after the Bronx river.