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Re: Countries with needless definite article.

I've got it! It's "The U.A.R.", right?
   There may be various ones I didn't think of - but I believe "the
Lebanon" is the one I had in mind. It strikes me that it retains its
definite article more often than most of the others I mentioned,
perhaps with "the Phillipines" excepted. But the plural there makes
it seem slightly different - although I must admit to not knowing what
a "Phillipine" is.
   But since "U.A.R." stands for "United Arab Republic", the "the"
does make sense there, since (as Patricia pointed out with other
examples) it has a generic quality, despite being an official proper
noun phrase. We say "the United States" and "the United Kingdom" (or
"the U.S." or "the U.K."), and that has never sounded odd to me.
Or maybe "The Peoples' Very Democratic And Now On Their Best Behavior
Cuz They're About To Host The Olympics Republic Of China"
   What I have noticed is that countries that *call* themselves
democratic are never in fact so.

             Michael Edwards.