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  1. #1
    Ju is offline Senior Member
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    Default continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    How should I explain briefly with clear, simple phrases to K2 students about the defination and relationship between a continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Tks / ju

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    A continent is a natural formation of the planet.

    A nation and a country are the same thing.

    Many nations are composed of either states of provinces. The United States of America has 50 states, for example. Canada has several provinces.

    There is one definition of a state that means "nation" or "country."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ju View Post
    How should I explain briefly with clear, simple phrases to K2 students about the defination and relationship between a continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Tks / ju
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Ju.

    (1) You have asked a SUPER SENSITIVE question.

    (2) I shall answer your question in a super discreet and diplomatic manner.

    (3) Anyone who answers should remember that this website is devoted to

    language -- NOT to controversial political matters. If one does not write

    discreetly, his/her post will be deleted.

    (4) This is what an official of a certain political entity said in English:

    "We believe there is one nation and two countries."

    (a) By "nation." he seemed to mean people who share a common culture and history.

    (b) By "country," he seemed to mean a self-governing political entity.

    (5) This article also said that many people in that "certain" political entity did not feel that their native language contained an adequate word to explain the concept of "nation." So when those people speak in their NATIVE language, they insert the ENGLISH word "nation" or "state" in
    their conversation.

    I dare not say more. I hope that this may help you a bit.

    Have a nice day!

    *****

    My source is the magazine English Today, October, 1999.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Barb gave you a great definition of almost all the words in your list.

    A county, I think, means something different in the UK to what it means in the USA (where there are counties within states).

    In the UK, England is divided into separate counties. Each county has its own council which can make some autonomous decisions, but in other respects is governed by the national government.

    I'm not quite sure what sparked the contents of the other reply! I can see nothing remotely controversial in your post. You have clearly asked for help in explaining the definitions of certain English words, one of the things this website is aimed at. You neither gave nor requested opinions about those words! I'm sure in certain parts of the world where territorial issues are a problem, then the definitions may take on different connotations, but not here, where we are all shiny, happy, tolerant people with one common aim - good English!

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Oh, I totally missed county! Thanks.

    Yes, we have counties within out states here. Depending on the state, sometimes the county is an important political division, and sometimes it's not.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    yuriya's Avatar
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    Question Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Isn't it backward in the UK? I mean the UK is a state made up of four countries. Or should I say a state made up of four nations?
    And there is one question I want to ask but I'm not sure if it is OK to even ask. Just curious to know how people from Northern Ireland want them to be called, Irish or British? Is there an adjective for the people of the UK as a whole?

    No intention of provoking anybody. Sorry if I'm not discreet in my wording. Please enlighten me. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by yuriya; 17-May-2010 at 09:57. Reason: clarification

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    Just curious to know how people from Northern Ireland want them to be called, Irish or British?
    In the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, a citizen of Northern Ireland can classify themselves as British, Irish or both. In addition many have Irish passports and/or British ones. It can be a politically and socially sensitive question, so it would probably be advisable to ask them rather than use one term or the other.

    There's a discussion here on the topic, which has some interesting posts, and also some chauvinism and disagreement: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ge...person-uk.html

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: continent, a country, a state, a nation, a province and a county?

    QUOTE: Isn't it backward in the UK? I mean the UK is a state made up of four countries. Or should I say a state made up of four nations? END QUOTE

    Ah, the great question! You could probably ask ten people this and get ten different answers. It all depends on what you class as a "country". Personally, as far as I'm concerned if you can be a national (note: not a citizen) of a "nation" and that "nation" issues passports, then it's a country.

    On that basis, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are not technically "countries" because there is no such thing as an English/Scottish/N Irish/Welsh passport! You can only have a UK passport and therefore the United Kingdom is a country, made up of four regions.

    Needless to say, and without wishing to start any kind of controversy, there are of course many people from each of the four regions who would identify themselves as English/Scottish/N Irish/Welsh, instead of British. However, from a purely legal basis, when asked for their nationality, there is only one correct answer: British (which actually means the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to give it its full name).

    The previous poster explained the N Irish nationality situation very well, as per the Good Friday Agreement.

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