Countries that Must Start with “the”

The name of a country on this planet is what we consider a proper noun. Usually, a proper noun — a person’s name, for example — is not preceded by an article (a, an, or the) . However, you can’t mention these countries without the article “the“:

  • the United States of America, or the United States, or the States, or the USA, or the US
  • the United Kingdom, or the UK
  • the Philippines
  • the Netherlands
  • the Gambia
  • the Maldives
  • the Bahamas
  • the Congo

Some regions also require “the” before their names:

  • the Caribbean
  • the Marianas
  • the Carolines

Typically, when a country or region is named after an important river (sea) or consists of multiple islands (territories), it’s likely to start with “the.”

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