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Language tip of the week: state

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the differences in meaning of state in American and British English.



In the US, the adjective state usually refers to the individual states of the United States or to their government, laws, taxes etc: the state fair state income tax.

In the UK, state usually means paid for by the government: a state pension.

In the US and the UK, state can also be a noun meaning a country or a national government: member states of the United Nations. British speakers sometimes use it in specific combinations of words to refer to the UK government: affairs of state state intervention. When American speakers are referring to the US government, they usually say federal: federal employees.

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Liz Potter

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