Anarthrous U.S.

While searching for something else entirely, I came across a large number of instances of anarthrous US/U.S., like this one:

With a population at 1,330,044,605, as estimated by CIA (July 2008 estimated), China leads all nations by it human capital. China boasts a literacy rate of 90% though official figures as to accessibility to Internet are not available. As far as U.S is concerned, it has a very high rate of accessibility to Internet. The entire U.S society is now logged on to Internet by one way or the other. A life without Internet in the U.S is unimaginable and any disruption of the free flow of information would pose a grave political and commercial consequences. (link)

This from commenter Srinath Fernando; the examples seem to be very heavily from South Asian speakers.

(Note also the consistent use of anarthrous Internet.)


12 Responses to “Anarthrous U.S.”

  1. Vance Maverick Says:

    Followed immediately by two standard usages — including “in the U.S.” rather than “in U.S.”

  2. Nathan Says:

    It also has anarthrous “CIA”, but “A life without Internet in the U.S”.

    Isn’t this just non-native English? There are several other unidiomatic expressions.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Anarthrous “CIA” is widespread, especially from CIA people themselves (as noted in the LLog postings).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      “Isn’t this just non-native English? There are several other unidiomatic expressions.”

      I tried to be careful about this. Regional Englishes and non-native English are different (though related) things. (As far as I could tell, the many cites I found were of both sorts.) Indian English, like Irish English, is not non-native English, and it contains many sorts of expressions that will strike many American and British speakers as unidiomatic.

  3. Victor H. Mairv Says:

    The 90% literacy rate figure for China is hugely bogus (if, for example, we consider “literacy” to mean the ability to read [and write] material at the level of a newspaper, magazine, novel, etc.).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Victor, if the content of a citation (provided because of its linguistic characteristics) is going to be taken as a subject for commentary, then every posting with citations is going to explode into dozens of irrelevant threads.

      The literacy rate in China has absolutely nothing to do with any of the points in my posting. Normally, I’d just delete an irrelevant comment like this, but since it’s you, I thought maybe this could serve as an object lesson for other readers.

  4. as far as us is concerned « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « Anarthrous U.S. […]

  5. B.Slade Says:

    On an unrelated topic:– this writer seems to conform to the South Asian habit of leaving off the final “.” in abbreviations. I don’t know where this convention arises from (it’s not paralleled in devanagari script, for instance: abbreviations are syllable rather than alphabetic, but the abbreviation mark still follows each abbreviation element).

  6. John Walden Says:

    Expat Brits seem to use “UK” without its “The” quite frequently: “When I get back to UK” for example.

    The “rule”, well known, is that countries whose second word is countable get a “The”: Kingdom, States, Republic, Union and so on.

    Which is perhaps why “The” seems to be disappearing from “Lebanon” “Ukraine” and “Gambia”. What it was doing there in the first place, I’m not sure. Something to do with them being areas or rivers before they were countries? (The) Congo, (The) Sudan, (The) Netherlands?

    Sorry, more questions than answers.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      There are generalizations about the arthrousness of country names (and other proper names), but there are plenty of exceptions, and there seems to be a lot of historical accident in the matter (plus a perceptible trend over time towards losing the article in country names). For some entertaining discussion, see the posting “Around the water cooler” and the comments on it.

  7. johnwcowan Says:

    The newspaper USA Today used to use anarthrous USA but has now switched to the USA, I believe.


    Many thanks for having taken my article as a case for discussion. I am very grateful for that. I am sure you must have taken this randomly. I have noted with interest the comments on your website. I am also interested in linguistics and hope to share some comments with you such as the meaning of ‘as far as possible’ and ‘as far as is possible’. I find English is very tricky when using the words in certain contexts as different interpretations can be given. I have recently published a booklet titled POLITICAL THEOLOGY FOR ATHEISTS IN AMERICA …

    I am a freelance journalist and a Political Lobbying & Government Relations Consultant…

    [AMZ: I’ve edited this comment down some. And yes, the passage I quoted was chosen at random from a set of sites that used United States anarthrously.]

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