Travel English: Stating where you are from


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by Sherlock Holmes






  • We use a capital letter when we refer to a country (e.g., the United States), a nationality (e.g., American), a language (e.g., English) and a region (e.g., North America).
  • A singular noun is used when referring to a person from the country or region: an Indonesian, a Japanese, a German, a Colombian, an Asian.
  • the plural expression the is used for the whole population of a country (e.g., the Germans) or region (e.g., Latin Americans).
  • The name of a national language is commonly the same as the national adjective (e.g., Spanish).
  • The singular noun is normally the same as the adjective (e.g. German), and the plural expression is the same as the adjective + -s (e.g., the Germans).
  • The definite article (the) is required before the names of some countries–especially those with a ‘common noun’ (e.g., federation, islands, kingdom, republic) in the name. For example:
    – the Bahamas (‘islands’ implicit);
    – the Cayman Islands;
    – the Central African Republic;
    – the Channel Islands;
    – the Comoros;
    – the Czech Republic;
    – the Dominican Republic;
    – the Falkland Islands;
    – the Gambia;
    – the Maldives (islands implicit);
    – the Marshall Islands;
    – the Netherlands;
    – the Russian Federation (but Russia);
    – the Philippines (islands implicit);
    – the Solomon Islands;
    – the Turks and Caicos Islands;
    – the United Arab Emirates;
    – the United Kingdom;
    – the United States;
    – the Virgin Islands
  • The short form of British, Brit, is often used as a noun in journalistic style and in informal situations to refer to the British people.
  • The noun Briton only to refer to the ancient tribes that lived in Britain.
  • Great Britain includes England, Wales and Scotland.
  • the United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Scots is an adjective and appears in compounds such as Scotsman.
    The adjective Scotch is used to refers to food and drink from Scotland (e.g., Scotch whisky).
  • We use Arabic for the language spoken in Arab countries; the normal adjective is Arab (e.g., the Arab World, the Arab Press). We use Arabian in a few fixed expressions and place names (e.g., Arabian Nights is a famous film; the Arabian Sea).
  • An Aussie is slang for a person from Australia.
  • A person from Denmark is called a Dane.
  • The people from the Netherlands are called the Dutch.
  • A person from England is also called an Englishman/Englishwoman.
  • A person from Finland is also called a Finn.
  • A person from Ireland is also called an Irishman/Irishwoman.
  • A Kiwi is slang for a person from New Zealand.
  • A person from Poland is also called a Pole.
  • A person from Scotland is also called a Scot.
  • A person from Spain is also called a Spaniard.
  • A person from Sweden is also called a Swede.
  • A person from Turkey is also called a Turk.
  • A person from Wales is also called a Welshman/Welshwoman.




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