How big data tells us when the “United States” literally became one

“The United States is increasingly divided” or “The United States are increasingly divided”? To most, the former seems more grammatically correct than the latter.

Referring to the United States as a singular noun is now common usage—the plural sounds strange to modern ears. It wasn’t always this way. In his recently published book Everybody Lies, data scientist and New York Times opinion writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explains that “the United States are” was standard usage through the first half of the 19th century.

Author: Dan Kopf


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