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    #1

    (the) Europeans

    Hello!

    I'm a bit confused about the use of 'the' with nationalities ending with 'ans', as grammars seem to have different opinions on this point.

    Should I say/write:
    the Europeans or Europeans?
    the Americans or Americans?
    the Russians or Russians?
    (Sting sang 'the Russians', but Murphy says 'the' should be omitted).

    I'd appreciate it if anyone could help.
    Last edited by Verona_82; 30-Jan-2011 at 22:52.

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    #2

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Hello,

    It all depends on the context.

    For instance if talking about say a United Nations committee comprising many nationalities you might say, 'The Europeans (on the committee - understood) were not in favour of xyz'.

    If however you were referring just to Europeans, or just Americans etc., you might say 'Europeans on the whole don't understand baseball'.

    Regards

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    #3

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Thank you for the reply. I know that 'the' refers to a definite person/thing/group, but I'm just wondering if this is the case when talking about nationalities in general. I'm trying to find out what native speakers really say when compared to what is written in books

    We say 'the Swiss', 'the French', but '-an'-ending nationality names seem to be deprived of the article.

    So, The Russians [on the whole] don't play baseball

    ?

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    #4

    Re: (the) Europeans

    It seems that nationality words ending in -an can function as full nouns; others retain enough of their adjective properties to require the definite article at all times, as do other adjectives used in this way - the rich, the young,etc.

    For the same reason, we can say 'a German', 'an American', but we can't say 'an English', 'a French'. You'll find in some books that we can use the indefinite article before some of these words - 'a Swiss', 'a Chinese', but these sound strange to me. I would always say 'a Chinese man/woman/person'.

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    #5

    Re: (the) Europeans

    When referring to nationalities, we can either use or omit the definite article.

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    #6

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    When referring to nationalities, we can either use or omit the definite article.
    As I pointed out in my last post, we can't omit it with some nationality words:

    *Chinese have a greater respect for education than English.

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    #7

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Do "the Russian", "the American" sound unnatural to you when used to refer to whole nations?

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    #8

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Do "the Russian", "the American" sound unnatural to you when used to refer to whole nations?
    Usually, yes.

    However, COCA gives us some examples such as:
    "Subjugation of the American Indian was initiated and sustained by a series of events...",
    "As Fortune magazine presciently observed in 1969: # The American likes his home brilliantly lit, of course...",
    "Obviously the Indian wanted to continue to live his life as his ancestors had".

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    #9

    Re: (the) Europeans

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Usually, yes.

    However, COCA gives us some examples such as:
    "Subjugation of the American Indian was initiated and sustained by a series of events...",
    "As Fortune magazine presciently observed in 1969: # The American likes his home brilliantly lit, of course...",
    "Obviously the Indian wanted to continue to live his life as his ancestors had".
    Thank you.

    I meant "the American" used like "the French" though--adjectivally.

    The French eat frogs.

    The American eat burgers.
    (not eats)

    The Russian eat kasha.

    Does it sound unnatural to you too?

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    #10

    Re: (the) Europeans

    The American (singular, for 'Americans in general') eats hamburgers as though hamburgers were the food of the gods.

    I would normally say, and expect to hear,"Americans eat ...", but the sentence above is possible,

    The French (plural!) eat frogs.

    The American eat burgers.
    NO. The Americans eat.. or The American eats...

    The+adjective normally refers to people in general, plural: the rich, the young, the French, etc.

    However, nationality words ending in -an have beome established as nouns in their own right, as well as functioning as adjectives.Thus American (noun) functions like Turk, Dane, Englishman, Frenchman, while American (adjective) functions like Turkish, Danish, English French.

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