I always refer to The United States of America in Spanish as «los Estados Unidos>>. But today I came across an article entitled China acusa a Estados Unidos de rehuir compromisos. Notice the lack of definite article in the name of the country.

Is this an acceptable or common practice? Is it perhaps because this is a headline, and headlines often omit certain words for brevity?


My answer is only based on my experience as a user language Spanish of Chile, I don't know if there rules on the matter.

For us the name of the country is Estados Unidos. Users don't have awareness that we are talking about "a group of states that are united", in which case would feel the need of an article.

A map translated into Spanish label the country as "Estados Unidos", not as "Los Estados Unidos".

Then the normal mode is no article. And when we say los Estados Unidos is just a matter of style, as in "la China" or "el Japón".

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  • In English we almost always say "the United States", so maybe I just carried that habit over from my first language. Thanks for your answer! – Flimzy Feb 25 '15 at 1:04

Is an acceptable common practice. It hasn't been done for brevity in the headline.

Some names of countries must have the article (eg. El Salvador), while others can have it or not

(El) Afganistán; (La) Argentina; (Las) Bahamas; (La) India.

I think "Estados Unidos" only needs to have the "los" when we refer to the country as "Los Estados Unidos de América". Otherwise is kind of optional.

Interestingly, even if is "Estados Unidos" it is treated as a singular

Estados Unidos mantiene su advertencia contra Irán

Unless you use the "los"

Los Estados Unidos mantienen su advertencia contra Irán

I think that we favor "Estados Unidos", but is not unusual to see "Los Estados Unidos".

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  • 1
    The Fundéu article you link has a very good explanation, in my opinion. – Gorpik Feb 25 '15 at 14:20

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