Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
July 3, 2009By Ben Zimmer
We're coming up on the Fourth of July, when the United States is full of barbecues, fireworks, parades, and competitive hot dog eating. But why do we say "the United States is full of..." instead of "the United States are"? On Independence Day, there's no better time to reflect on how the rise of America's national unity was mirrored by its grammatical unity, as "the United States" turned into a singular noun. Continue reading...