“in US English” vs "in the US English"



I saw a usage of "in US English" in a dictionary, which I think it should be "in the US English" instead. The reason is that the full version should be "the United States" and not "United States". I'm not sure if I am correct?

"Definition of hundred in US English:"


Posted 2017-09-07T00:58:58.380

Reputation: 12 255

Well, if you accept that there are many Englishes, there is the US English among them. – IllidanS4 wants Monica back – 2017-09-07T10:54:43.013



No. When "US", "UK", "UN", "UAE" etc are used as nouns, they have the definite article "the" preceding them.

We are going to the US next week.

The UK held a referendum on EU membership.

The issue will be raised at the UN.

However, when they are used attributively, as though they were adjectives, there is no article.

UK law prohibits copyright infringement.

US senators serve six-year terms.

UN member states will discuss the issue.

Sometimes there's an article, but that's because the article is required by the following noun:

The US Constitution protects freedom of expression.

A US physicist has just won a Nobel prize.

Hence, we would refer to "UK English" and "US English" - although it is probably more common to call them "British English" and "American English".


Posted 2017-09-07T00:58:58.380

Reputation: 8 564

6Often abbreviated "BrE" and "AmE", respectively, on ELU and ELL. – Todd Wilcox – 2017-09-07T02:15:44.667

Would it sound awkward when US is expanded in those sentences as an 'adjective'? i.e. "in United States English", "A United States physicist", and etc. Would those take the same effects as the brief versions of US? – dan – 2017-09-07T03:35:00.710

@dan yes, they are just as you wrote them there. – Glen_b – 2017-09-07T04:24:55.380

4In English we would write "in English" (indeed, I just did that at the start of this sentence) and not "in the English". That stays the same when you put an adjective in between, even if it's compound ... "In broad-Australian English ..." for example, still works like "In English" – Glen_b – 2017-09-07T04:35:12.957

3@dan - Yes, it is awkward to expand the adjective US into "United States". For some reason "US" is an adjective, but "United States" is only used as a noun. Also worth noting that "USA" is a noun but not an adjective. – AndyT – 2017-09-07T09:13:12.427

1I think you could write in the English of the US, though. This would be more natural if US English was not such a common term. I can imagine for example in the English of the Upper West Side. – Carsten S – 2017-09-07T09:24:55.123

2@rjpond, you wrote when they are used attributively, as though they were adjectives, there is no article . To be precise, when they are used attributively, as though they were adjectives, the article that is used is that required by the following noun. – Breandán Dalton – 2017-09-07T11:41:58.350

@Breandán Dalton, I agree with that, and I think I made that clear in my statement "Sometimes there's an article, but that's because the article is required by the following noun" and subsequent examples. If not, thanks for the clarification! – rjpond – 2017-09-07T12:00:00.467

4@AndyT, I agree that "United States" often sounds awkward attributively, but I think expressions such as "the United States government" are nevertheless possible. – rjpond – 2017-09-07T12:00:03.293

1@rjpond - That's true. And we arrive at a common theme: nothing in language boils down to simple rules that are always applicable. But this being ELL rather than ELU I'm happy to stick with simple rules that are applicable 99% of the time. – AndyT – 2017-09-07T13:30:52.610

Among friends I've also seen the phrases English (Traditional) and English (Simplified) used when referring to UK and UK English respectively. (context: mainly among British friends, some of said friends are American and find this funny) – RobbG – 2017-09-07T14:01:21.507

@ToddWilcox and also "en-GB" and "en-US" in Internet standards and other places that borrow from that. – Jon Hanna – 2017-09-07T20:22:15.047

Are there any phrases that can be used attributively in a form which begins with "the" (besides perhaps titles of artistic works)? If someone is a fan of the Beatles, they're "a Beatles fan", not "a the Beatles fan". (The phrase "the United States government" isn't an example of this, because the attributive part is just "United States".) – Tanner Swett – 2017-09-08T03:55:16.500


I consider the example highlighted is correct. "in the US English" seems awkward because US English is a single unique object already, no need to article-specify it. Curiously, English over-emphasizes "the" which can be dropped in many cases with no loss of understanding.


Posted 2017-09-07T00:58:58.380

Reputation: 98

Really? Usually the word "the" is used as an alternative to "a" (definite vs. indefinite article). The book refers to some particular well-known book, whereas a book refers to an indefinite book. (I guess it makes sense for proper nouns though, like "the US Constitution", you need "the" because US is effectively an adjective and if you dropped it you'd need to say "the constitution") – Jason S – 2017-09-07T15:09:46.723

2This isn't good reasoning. "The British prime minister" is a unique object but you cant say "British prime minister is Theresa May." – David Richerby – 2017-09-07T18:37:44.157

@DavidRicherby This answer isn't good reasoning, but you picked an iffy example: if you switch the order, you get "Theresa May is British prime minister." This does get used in practice. So does "Theresa May is the British prime minister." – hvd – 2017-09-07T21:02:09.090

1"in the US English" is using US as an adjective of the noun English. You wouldn't say "in the English" in this case. With 'the' it looks weird and sounds weird. – Xenson – 2017-09-07T21:53:19.497

@hvd "Theresa May is British Prime Minister" sounds completely wrong to me. Google gives three hits for it (in quotes) but it only gives seven for the version with "the", so that doesn't say a lot. – David Richerby – 2017-09-07T23:31:30.873

1@hvd "Theresa May is British prime minister." just sounds horrible, to me at least. – Stephen S – 2017-09-08T01:37:58.363

2In Russia, British Prime Minister is you! – CJ Dennis – 2017-09-08T02:51:21.017

@DavidRicherby You can repeat the search with former PM names, with "is" changed tot "was", with "British" removed, to get some more results, still relevant. I cannot see any logic that explains why "the" would be optional either. Perhaps I should ask this as a new question. – hvd – 2017-09-08T05:39:08.840

@hvd Hmm. "was" seems different somehow. "Tony Blair was [British] prime minister from 1997 to 2007" sounds natural to me, with or without "British", but "Theresa May is [British] prime minister" sounds completely wrong. I have no explanation for this. (~40yo British native speaker, if that makes any difference.) – David Richerby – 2017-09-08T09:33:50.593

@DavidRicherby I love this The Heroes of British Jazz. Should you have an explanation for me; a Non Native Speaker :)

– Student – 2017-10-30T03:05:31.313

@Student Jazz is an uncountable noun, so it's always "British jazz" rather than "the British jazz". The difficulty being discussed above is because prime minister is a countable noun and also a job title. – David Richerby – 2017-10-30T07:59:15.373