0

Why use a plural article in, for example:

  • les États-Unis
  • les Émirats arabes unis
  • les Pays-bas

?

  • 1
    This is only partly related to French, as many other languages have the same feature regarding the same countries. – Montée de lait Nov 5 '18 at 14:01
  • Moreover (in addition with comment above), the article is not in the name It is not part of the name. It's sometimes used with it for the reason given in @radouxju 's answer. – aCOSwt Nov 5 '18 at 14:57
2

The names of the countries mentioned in the question are based on a composition of units, therefore the article is plural. However, most of the countries are "singular". The other exceptions include countries composed of many islands: Les Seychelles, les Philippines...

Les États-Unis d'Amérique (federal republic composed of 50 states)

Les Émirats arabes unis (Federal monarchy composed of 7 emirates)

Les Pays-Bas (historically, 7 independent provinces united to create the Provinces-Unies, which evolved through the time to become today's Royaume des Pays-Bas)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.