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Thread: american

  1. #1
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    american

    Hi,

    The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English.

    Can we apply this to all the country to use the plural form of that country?

    -The American(s) are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.

    Must I use 'the American or the Americans?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: american

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Hi,

    The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English.

    Can we apply this to all the country to use the plural form of that country?

    -The American(s) are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.

    Must I use 'the American or the Americans?

    Thanks.
    I don't think you can call the English an ethnic group.

  3. #3
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Re: american

    Thanks but what I want to learn is whether I must use:

    -The Americans are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.

    -The American are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: american

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Hi,

    The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English.

    Can we apply this to all the country to use the plural form of that country?

    -The American(s) are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.

    Must I use 'the American or the Americans?

    Thanks.
    The English are not a nation. The English are a "people". England is a nation or a country. Well, actually, it depends on how you look at it. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    All you can really say is "The English come from England". In the same way, "The Irish come from Ireland", "The Welsh come from Wales" and "The Scots come from Scotland" (note that the adjective Scottish is not normally changed to "The Scottish" although you will hear it).

    As far as applying the same rule to people from America, the answer is no. Even though "English" (adjective) becomes "The English" as a noun, "American" (adjective) does not become "The American" as a noun. I would say "Americans are a people/race who are native to North America and who speak English". The problem with that, of course, is that "American" (in BrE) is a nationality and only refers to the passport someone holds. So there are, of course, thousands of people who hold an American passport who were not born in America, perhaps don't live there and whose native language is not English!

    You don't have this problem with "The English". Someone from abroad who moves to England and then gets a British passport becomes "British", not "English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
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    Re: american

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Thanks but what I want to learn is whether I must use:

    -The Americans are a nation and ethnic group native to America, who speak English.
    As bhai and ems have pointed out, there are flaws in the basic idea. (The) Americans are not an ethnic group, and not all of them speak English. We'll leave aside what precisely we mean by 'native to America.

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: american

    "American" is not an ethnic group. If you asked me what my ethnicity was, I would respond with the countries where my ancestors came from. I would say I'm Irish, Scottish and Swedish.

  7. #7
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    Re: american

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "American" is not an ethnic group. If you asked me what my ethnicity was, I would respond with the countries where my ancestors came from. I would say I'm Irish, Scottish and Swedish.
    And if you don't know, or if your ancestors are basically from America?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: american

    Only the "Native Americans" (American Indians) are "from America."

    Some people with more mixed or unknown origins will refer to themselves comically as "mutts."

  9. #9
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    Re: american

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Only the "Native Americans" (American Indians) are "from America."

    Some people with more mixed or unknown origins will refer to themselves comically as "mutts."

    I'm a mutt through and through, for sure.

    A complication has been introduced by the politicization of the term "native American." This phrase has been used in US legislation to mean "people who can produce good evidence that they are descended from the original inhabitants of North America." Such persons are entitled to various benefits, for example subsidized university tuition. Other people, apparently unaware of the technical usage, have given the phrase its natural meaning, a person born in America, and claimed those benefits for themselves. As far as I know, this problem has yet to be litigated, but I am eagerly awaiting the result when eventually it is.

  10. #10
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: american

    Yes, exactly. I am a native American, but I am not a Native American.

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