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back to article WTF is this country called America?

You'd think that an elite special forces hack like our very own Lewis Page would be au fait with an atlas, but he's sadly not, according to one rather disgruntled reader. Lewis unwisely kicked off this piece with: "An alliance of boffins from Oxford University and Virginia, America..." Oh no. Cue a fit of pique from one Lorne …

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Grenade

of course there is a place called america

although its pronounced 'merica, its where the merkins come from

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Go West side young man

I like to be in The United States

OK by me in The United States

Everything free in The United States

Boys: For a small fee in The United States

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FAIL

Thats odd

I thought the bit of land south of Canada was called the united states of America. You know America as in the landmass consisting of north and south America.

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Lame Flame

Thats a pretty lame flame tbh, they not really made the effort. I'll see if i can do better !

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Canadian eh?

Can't be Canadian, he didn't say "eh" at the end of every sentence guy.

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Title

Strictly, he's correct. It's the United States of America. But why a Canuck should care is beyond me.

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WTF?

Well...

Technically he's correct (the commentard, I mean). There's a continent called North America. Another called South America. "Americans" can encompass Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Brazilians, Guatemalans, and so forth - also including citizens of the United States of America. Citizens of the USA are Americans, true, but they're not the *only* Americans

However, Lewis Page is also correct saying Virginia, America in the same way that one might specify "Paris, Europe" in order to distinguish it from, say, Paris, Illinois.

The labelling isn't strictly correct, but depending on your point of view, it isn't strictly incorrect, either, and you could (and I'm sure many more commentards here will) argue it either way.

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Geography lesson please

Never be sarcastic when you may be wrong.

I don't like the Canadian gentleman's way of expressing himself. However, I think he is trying to say that America is not the name of a country. This is a common annoyance for Canadians.

Virginia is a state in the country called the United States of America. Canada is also an American country. It shares the continent of North America with the United States of America and Mexico.

People often refer to "Europe", when they actually mean the European Union. The EU is only part of Europe, not the whole continent, and that annoys non-EU Europeans. Similarly, people refer to "America", when they mean the United States of America. The USA is part of America, not the whole continent, and that annoys non-USA Americans.

Clear? Call them Gringos, not Americans.

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FAIL

That's not a proper flame

it might qualify under "passive-aggresive pendent of the week" but PAPotW doesn't feel like something people can aspire to.

<pedant alert!>

But Lewis you did miss out the 'United States of' when refering to the American Federal Republic

</pedant alert!>

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Stop

Confusion in Canada

Do they enjoy boffin' seals on Baffin Island? This may confuse the main issue but it had to be asked.

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Alert

The Canadian is correct, if totally illiterate!

There is a continent called N America, but no country called America.

From experience, "Canajuns" get very touchy about this!

It also raises the question: how does "God Bless America" when it does not exist?

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I think "America" is more or less right.

I would think that saying "America" for "The United States of America" isn't too different from saying "Britain" for "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or even "Germany" for "The Federal Republic of Germany". It's a short form of the official name of the country, with the descriptive bits describing the political system removed. The fact that there are continents named North and South America complicates things a bit, but only a bit. None of the other countries use "America" in their names, so there is little if any confusion.

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Pint

Ummm

Ummm isn't America a continent?? ;-)

Still, whoever that Canadian guy is...is just being picky really.

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Go

Poor Lorne Babcock

Poor Lorne Babcock, you don't know what boffins are? Did google fail you? Go get a brain.

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pencil33

Commentard is right. there is no such country as America. Lewis Page means the USA. America is two continents. Canadians, Mexicans, Peruvians and so on are also Americans, and like people to remember it.

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It's badly made but he has a point ...

Actually, Lewis, strictly speaking he is correct - the continent is called America and the country is called the United States of America. This is confirmed in the wikipedia article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States, wot I just edited specially for the purpose.

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God Bless America?

On present evidence I think he/she sort of forgot to!

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Boffin

<pedant>

Well technically the term 'America' isn't even specific enough to narrow the location down to a continent: it describes a very large area from Chile all the way up to this, admittedly inarticulate, individual's home in Canada.

The late, great Douglas Adams referred to this in one of his books as I recall. I can't recall the exact text but I am sure that some other Reg reader can oblige.

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Stop

Check your atlas again

There is no country called America. He's quite right. There is a continent called America (which includes Canada, strangely enough) and a country called the United States of America.

There are at least 5 Virginias in America: one in Brazil, one in Colombia, and three in the USA.

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America? No such place!

I think your pundit there is politely protesting your correspondent's confusion of the country and the continent. Although he doesn't actually say so, he may have a point. There's no country called "America"; however, judging from your hint of a "really big piece of land south of [Canda]", perhaps he thought you were referring to the United States of America.

Of course, that's all complete gobberwonk. Mr Page would not make such an egregarious geographic error! He fully intended to refer to Virginia, on the American *continent*. To avoid confusion with all the /other/ Virginias of the world..

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Grenade

@ Michael O'Malley

Let's simplify it.

EU = European

Europe != EU

USA = American

America != USA

Similarly,

England = GB, and UK

Scotland = GB, and UK

Wales = GB, and UK

NI = UK

NI != GB

UK = GB + NI

GB != UK

As a final reminder to USAnians,

UK != England

England != UK

Furthermore,

Nordic = Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland

Scandinavia = Sweden, Norway, Denmark

Finland = Nordic

Finland != Scandinavian

And so on.

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Are you really an idiot ?

or just pretending to be one?

America is a CONTINENT.

The US of A is a COUNTRY.

As much a you don't say London, Europe, you don't say Illinois, America.

And America is not the big lump of land south of Canada. It is Canada PLUS the big lump of land south of it, and the one west of it too.

One should try to attend, and remember, primary school.

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Pirate

@Jim59

You go call a Canadian an American and see if you make your next train home.

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Canadians get annoyed at this?

The one's I know don't really care.....

@Dave Murray: I'm not your guy, buddy!

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and...

There are 3 or 4 places that could be Virginia, USA...

Which ever way you cut it, and the commentard turdspurt notwithstanding, Lewis was hideously ambiguous with his shorthand - but, since I believe he's ex-military, he probably still thinks that continental accuracy is all that is needed...

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Tim Horton Hears A WTF

We say 'America' when we mean the USA. We talk about Americans, we roll our eyes and mutter 'Only in America', and we discuss the irony of the 'American Dream' over our yuppicinos.

Hands up who was actually confused?

Now hands up who is a maple-flavoured double double pedantard?

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FAIL

WTF?

Who cares?

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FAIL

Why is there an article about this?

The guy who made the comment is, judging by the language, obviously some idiot teenager who can't even google what "boffin" means (how come its ok to use yank slang everywhere but any british slang and they all get confused across the pond and burst into tears?) so why do we care that he made it?

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FAIL

You are joking of course?

Sorry, perhaps you're being ironic or something - or perhaps its some sort of Friday thing.

Whatever it is, let's just state the basic geography here.

The statement 'America is that really big piece of land south of him' is wrong - period. That place is called the United States of America. On the other hand, 'America' is a continent, consisting of 'North America' - containing Canada, the USA, Mexico and and a bunch of small states down to Panama - and 'South America' - containing Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and half a dozen smaller countries.

There - fixed that for you.

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Well...

As a Canadian, let me just say to this to Lorne Babcock: Boffins are a sub-species of Puffins, but are known to be unusually intelligent! (Yes... that's the ticket)

They aid our noble hunters in the culling of the seals, so they don't overpopulate and develop bad diseases, and don't compete TOO much with the Spaniards stealing our fish. And no, the hunters don't kill pups, that's just bad business.

(Really, though, Lester. Bad commentard week, if this is the worst there is?)

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FAIL

Almost like pre-school

I'll be the first to say; WTF has this got to do with IT?

If you're going to do some flaming then at least get it right, where you're not going to be shown up by the rest of the commentards.

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Meerkat says

Simples... It is the US of States, populated by a few Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Italians, Irish, and rednecks and hillbillies.

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Anonymous Coward

"God bless America"

To all the pedants complaining the term America should not be confused with the United States of America, why do we regularly hear "God bless America" and "I'm proud to be an American" etc.

To the rest of the world, and even to your own presidents, "America" = "USA".

When we talk about a loud-mouthed obnoxious twat on the tube, we say "there was an American loudly talking shit", we don't say "there was a person from the USA loudly talking shit". We KNOW "American" means "somebody from the United States of America", so there was no doubt in anybody's mind exactly what "Virginia, America" means.

Anonymously so I don't get murdered by an *American*

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How long has Lorne been reading el reg?

Surely if it's any longer than a day he's know sciencey type stuff involves boffins.

How dare LP use common usage, with regard to the USA, shame on him.

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FAIL

Google maps says...

"Virginia, America" goes straight to "Virginia, USA".

That means there is only one place with so stupid a name in all the continent, so strictly speaking the article is correct and "accurate enough".

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@Michael Jennings

To be fair using Britain as a shorthand for the UK should be incorrect too, as Britain is technically England and Wales. It's become common use and is pretty much accepted as a shorthand for the UK now of course.

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Paris Hilton

A lot of people need to worry a lot less...

...about the little things that really don't matter, in the grand scheme.

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Joke

@ AC 10:07

"To all the pedants complaining the term America should not be confused with the United States of America, why do we regularly hear "God bless America" and "I'm proud to be an American" etc."

Don't be so silly. They don't call themselves Americans. They call themselves "USAicans", and they are proud to be USAicans.

Don't you recall Eddie Murphy's 1988 classic film "Coming to USA"?

Or the less-classic 1995 Michael Douglass vehicle "The American President"?

I have it on good authority that the Native-USAicans have a number of casinos, and the Italian-USAican community has a number of legitimate family businesses.

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Stop

Umm...

Continents: North America, South America

Both together: The Americas (not a continent, but a term encompassing the two previously mentioned continents)

Country: United States of America.

In Europe and North America, the term 'America' is commonly used as a shortened form for the United States of America. However, it IS very unspecific.

Generally: If you really get your knickers in a twist over the word America instead of the term USA, you really need to get over yourself and go out and have some fun.

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Anonymous Coward

So how do you pronounce...

... The would "About" :p

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retired engineer

Sadly, there are ignoramuses from all countries, and neither CA nor the US have a corner on that market.... I'd say the language places the poster geographically, but I have no wish to insult any nationalities...

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To quote Mr Partridge

I think he may have been referring to Good Ole' Uncle US of Stateside.

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Silver badge

Quick! Change that song everyone seems to like...

You know, that "The Federation of The United States of America the beautiful" song. For convenience, let's just abbreviate it to "America the beautiful"

Don't be a bunch of dicks, if you guys get it wrong in daily use, don't expect the rest of the world to get it right whilst you're exporting TV shows with it wrongly expressed.

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Troll

Commentards

You can't have it both ways when it comes to America and i think the worlds has decided that America = US of America.

Its like Football against Soccer (which always confuses me as only ones played using your FOOT to kick the BALL ie FOOTBALL, a re-think to the Amercian name really needs to be made, how about soft girly men in boby armour or somethin?)

(Must be Friday as i have my troll head on until i read the BOFH)

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Flame

easy solution to the problem

An easy solution to his turdspurt would be for the USA to pull a Fallout 3 get it over with and annex Canada and add a dozen or so stars to our flag. The only drawback would be they would want to keep the queen on our money. As for resistance as some comedian said our Salvation Army could take them these days. Nevermind nix that, without Canadian culture we would have any good comedians. Seriously though Canada is super beautiful, full of nice people, a bit cold for my tastes but any country that loves beer and Tim Horton donuts is ok in my book.

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Black Helicopters

Actually....

The United States of America is a corporation; not a country, or a landmass.

America is a continent, eh?

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Bronze badge

Who cares?

Every cyberpunk afficionado knows it's all going to be the UCAS soon.

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FAIL

The Americas

is the name of the two continents, not America. There is no place called America, apart from slang for the United States of... Ideots.

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@Sergie Kaponitovicz

"It also raises the question: how does "God Bless America" when it does not exist?"

I'd be rather more inclined to dispute the former entity's existence than the latter.

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Grenade

IF you want to be picky about it......

America isn't a continent, as North America and South America are separate continents and people that live in Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil etc... are never (correctly) referred to as Americans.

America is an abbreviation of the USA, a place where Americans live. The USA is the country allbeit a country made up of a collection of states, each with their own state laws. State law is trumped by Federal law which implies a Federation which is what the United States of America actually is.

To use America as a country and meaning the USA is not wrong. It is totally correct.

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