Is “The” Capitalized In “The United States of America”?

Whether ‘the’ is capitalized in ‘The United States of America’ has always been a source of confusion. Even the founding fathers were unsure when they wrote the constitution. We will try and give you a bit of guidance on this page.

Is ‘The’ Capitalized in ‘The United States of America’?

When you are referring to the country’s official name, you should capitalize the ‘The’ in ‘The United States of America’. If you are referring to something within the country, e.g. a city, then you should not capitalize the ‘the’. It would just be ‘the United States of America’.

is the capitalized in the united states

The problem is that there is no guidance on whether to use a capital T in ‘the’. If you read The Constitution, you will find that the country is referred to as both ‘the United States of America’ and ‘The United States of America’. If the founding fathers were unsure of the proper country name, we can’t imagine other people would know.

In most cases, you would capitalize the ‘the’ when you are referring to the country as a whole. For example, if you wrote out the name of the country, you would write ‘The United States of America.

If you were referring to something in the country, then you do not have to capitalize the ‘the’. This means ‘in the United States of America’ is fine.

That being said, it probably wouldn’t matter too much which term you used. As long as the ‘the’ is not at the start of the sentence, both ‘the’ and ‘The’ are grammatically correct.

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When Should ‘The’ Be Capitalized In ‘The United States of America’?

You should capitalize the ‘The’ whenever you refer to the country name rather than something located within the country. You should always capitalize the ‘the’ if it appears at the start of a sentence.

Here are a few examples of when ‘the’ is capitalized in ‘The United States of America’:

  1. The name of the country is The United States of America.
  2. The United States of America is smaller than Canada.
  3. The President is the Head of State in The United States of America.
  4. There are fifty states in The United States of America
  5. An American is a citizen of The United States of America

When Should ‘The’ NOT Be Capitalized in ‘The United States of America’?

You should not capitalize the ‘the’ when referring to something inside the country. For example, if you were mentioning that a city was located in the country, it would be (city name) is located in the United States of America.

Here are some examples of when you should avoid capitalizing ‘the’ in ‘the United States of America’.

  1. New York is in the United States of America
  2. I am a citizen living in the United States of America
  3. The Constitution was written in the United States of America.
  4. Do you live in the United States of America? I don’t!
  5. Jaywalking is illegal in many parts of the United States of America.

‘The vs. ‘the’ United States of America – Usage In The English Language

According to Google Ngram Viewer, the word ‘the’ is used a lot more frequently than ‘The’ when used before ‘United States of America’. This is likely because ‘the’ can substitute for ‘The’ and still mean the same thing while using ‘The’ will completely change the meaning of the following words.

is the capitalized in the united states graph

Nowadays, you will find ‘the’ is used 5-10x as much as ‘The’ is used. So, if you are stuck knowing whether to use ‘the’ or ‘The’, you can feel fairly confident knowing that the former is almost always the correct term.

Is ‘The’ Capitalized In ‘The United Kingdom’?

The ‘The’ in ‘The United Kingdom’ will only be capitalized when you refer to the country’s name, normally in an official capacity. If you state that something is located within the country, you do not have to capitalize the ‘the’.

Whenever you are directly referencing the country’s name, for example, you include the name of the country in a list, then you should always capitalize the ‘The’. So, you may see; Ireland, Sweden, The United Kingdom, and Germany in a list of countries. You may also see the word capitalized in these contexts:

  1. The name of the country at the UN is ‘The United Kingdom’.
  2. The Royal Navy is one of the military branches of The United Kingdom.

If you are talking about a city or something else within the country, then you should never capitalize the ‘the’. For example:

  1. London is in the United Kingdom.
  2. The world’s first police force was created in the United Kingdom.