Please can we (ALL) stop referring to that country south of Canada as 'America'!

+4 votes
in Policy and Style by Judith Robinson G2G6 Mach 1 (16.9k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Nope.  This pedantry comes up again and again.
God bless the United States.  Where people chase the United States dream in the United States way.
United States, United States, God shed his grace on thee!
Good luck :) If you ask many of us in England where our relatives emigrated to when they crossed the big pond folks will be very specific about whether it was Canada or America :) Very few of my generation would think to call it anything else, even though America is wrong.
And does that mean Captain America doesn't exist?
When I was in Ontario, Canada, a Canadian referred to the United States as America.
Frank, I hope you corrected him or her and soundly chastised him or her for his or her inaccuracy!
Isn't it the United States of North America and Hawaii ? Or USNAAH  ?
Vespucci is rolling in his grave.
Uhhhh..... no. Wife traveled a lot for an international consultancy group. Whenever she said she was from “America,” every single person knew exactly which country she was from. There was never a question such as, “Do you mean Canada (or Mexico, add your own Western Hemisphere country)?” Ever.

Is some governmental documents, Mexico is officially the United States of Mexico. So, if I, as a citizen of the USA, say I’m from the United States, does that mean I’m from Mexico?

Really, this is a non-issue.

I use USA in profiles but always refer to the country in conversation as America. I've always been under the impression that citizens of USA are "Americans" not "United States of Americans" and so perhaps thats why its habit to call it just America.

Even in the news here it is always "the American President ...", or "another shooting in America ..." - so it's very common outside the country for the country to be refered to as such, and very clear which country in the world is being discussed. When talking about a South American country it will always called by name - Peru, Bolivia, whatever, and Canada is always Canada - so when I hear "America" I always know exactly that it refers to the USA. I didn't realise it was an issue :o

Though I agree with Natalie, the United States of America is not the only country with an LNAB that includes United States.  There are several others including the United States of Indonesia, which we call Indonesia, and the United States of Brazeil, which we call Brazil
Thanks everyone for your feedback.  What triggered me was the question of the week: Do you have ancestors who opened up the 'American' West?.  Somewhere on another G2G comment someone said that the U.S. is the country with no real name, yet.  That seemed so true to me!  That place in the middle of North America needs a real name!  Maybe the Trump era will furnish one, lol. Judy from the top (edge, tip, north bit) of North America, aka Canada!
'No real name?'  The United States of America is her name, as reified in our Constitution:  "We the People of the United States ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."  SMH.  LNAB, sourced with Birth Certificate.

Going by the style guide I agree it should not be used but I would rather see that than have nothing in that location field, that way I know that you are talking about Ohio, United States of America and not Ohio in another country.

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

Based on my personal experience and travels, it is most often the residents of other countries that refer to the U.S. as "America", not the residents of the U.S. themselves. When it is the U.S. residents saying it, it usually in mixed company with people from different countries.

As an example - I regularly have online conferences and training sessions with clients from all over the world, most of which require translators. When the topic came up about where I am located, I would respond with "the U.S." or "United States", only to have the translator repeat that as "America".

After a few months, I gave in and just started to respond "America". What I learned was that everyone on the line would know exactly what I said and what the question was, without having the information translated back to them.

So, if you are asking me to stop referencing "America" in my dealings with residents of other countries - then I am afraid that is a bridge we are not going to be able to cross together.

However, if you are in fact talking about WT and location name fields, categories, etc. - then I believe that WT already has policies on the usage, although it may not be specifically spelled out to say "Don't call it America".

For instance, the Location Field Style Guide states that:

Abbreviation of country names is acceptable as long as the abbreviation is standard and is recognizable.

"America" is not a standard abbreviation, but it is recognizable. Does that mean it should be used? Of course not, the correct abbreviations are either "U.S." or "USA".

Category Names for Regions states that:

Categories for modern countries use the short form in common usage, as in Category:Australia not Category:Commonwealth of Australia.

 "United States" is an acceptable short form, while "America" is not.

So if you run across America being used outside of G2G in a profile field, then feel free to dive in and help clean it up.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (589k points)
selected by Natalie Trott
While Natalie's answer is the funniest, this answer from Steven Harris really should be selected as Best Answer because it answers the question as it relates to Wikitree usage.
Truth, Jillaine.
+2 votes
I dont like calling it America either. To me it will only ever be the good ole U S of A!!
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Is the «of» important? Just curious as it is not something that folks here would say when just using the letters.
"good ole US of A" is often used by some AMERICANS ;)
+16 votes
It's just one of our nicknames, but is it our LNAB?
by Natalie Trott G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Honestly, this is the best comment I have ever come across in my dealings with G2G.
Thanks, I just thought I'd deal with a country the same way we deal with profiles!
Owning my upvote; this is a great response!
+3 votes
Do you mean in WikiTree or the whole world in general.  Could you please be a little more specific.  Something like this should be covered A to Zed.

And I do use USA or United States in my WikiTree Profiles to be more specific in context.
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (196k points)

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