The Instigator
donald.keller
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Jirezhiat
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

It is, in general conversation, entirely reasonable to say 'America' instead of the USA.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
donald.keller
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,328 times Debate No: 45046
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (28)
Votes (1)

 

donald.keller

Pro

Resolution: It is completely reasonable for someone to say America instead of the USA.

Rules:
i. No sneaky wordplay.
ii. All FFs are immediate defeats.
iii. Round 1 is for acceptance only (suck it GWL-CPA.)

General conversation: Conversation with general people in a general enviroment.

Online, and in numerous conversations, it's taboo to say "America" because it's actually called the USA. I will argue that it is completely reasonable and completely acceptable to say America instead.
Jirezhiat

Con

I accept the proposition for me to debate against this motion.

I am rather inexperienced in proper debating, but I will do my best in trying to conform to the parameters of the syntax that the general, and your specifically, debate format expect.

I will assume a strong chance of opposition against the movement in order to bring out the aspects that make this motion debatable from "my" side.
Debate Round No. 1
donald.keller

Pro

As is implicit in Rule I, no using sly tactics to undermine the Resolution. This is about general conversation between everyday people in an everyday environment (or online environment.)

Argument I: It's a common tactic for shortening numerous names.

The United States of America is not the only nation that does this. It's a very common tactic used by almost every nation in the world. While USA is indeed shorter, many people feel more comfortable using the term America instead. The USA is just as long as America (The USA - America), but quicker to type or write because it is one word.

The complaints tend to only ever be directed towards the US, but here is a list of other nations that do this.
- The United States of Mexico (although the name was changed in 2013.)
- Federative Republic of Brazil
- People's Republic of China
- Republic of China (where the word Taiwan isn't even present)
- Commonwealth of Australia
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Federal Republic of Germany
- Republic of India

In many of these cases, such as India and Mexico, the names (India, Mexico) are actually larger geopolitical areas. The land of Mexico, for example, includes all of Central America and Texas. The United States of Mexico only makes up slightly over half of all that, and yet we say Mexico instead. We say Britain despite how the nation doesn't actually own all of Britannia, or the UK despite how it leaves out North Ireland.

It's common to substitute the countries name for a shorter or more convenient phrase, even if that phrase doesn't completely represent it. To say it is wrong of the US to do, one must also acknowledge that it is wrong for every other nation as well. It would then be unreasonable to say Taiwan or Brazil.

Argument II: Words are only meant to convey ideas.

Words, for the everyday person, isn't a part of technical language or jargon. Words have one purpose, and only one... To convey an idea. If they do this, they are as proper as normal people should require them to be. This is why when someone is improperly messing up a phrase or word to say something, we stop them and don't force them to say it right, because we understand the idea they are trying to convey.

We simply speak, and if the other person listening understands the idea, we did it right. Rules and proper grammar are only guidelines to make speaking easier to understand, but as anyone to travels know, the guidelines change from group to group and yet everyone understands their peers. "Proper English" is simply understandable English. When saying America, everyone understands through context clues what you are talking about. Since everyone understands exactly what place you are referring to, it's as proper as it needs to be for conventional conversation.

Shakespeare was famous for doing this. Even though he didn't use the "proper" terms, everyone understand what the image he tried to convey was.

Argument III: The USA is the only nation with the word America in it.

Since there is no other nation in North or South America with the word America in their name, it's entirely reasonable to say America. There is no other nation competing for the term. When saying "America," there is no other nation that you could get it confused with. The only problem arises if the other person is mentally deficient and can't tell when the conversation is referring to a continent or a country. The problem is then with them. If you then continue to say America, and they still don't understand, the problem is especially with them.

Unless you can't convey the obvious idea of what you are referring to, a case in which every word or phrase is unreasonable and improper, the use of the word America is entirely appropriate.

Argument VI: The United Kingdom is a perfect example.

The UK is actually, in full, called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is entirely reasonable to call it the United Kingdom or to call it Britain. It is not reasonable to say Ireland as that name is occupied by another nation's title, a problem the US doesn't face with it's neighbors.

It can be called the United Kingdom or Britain because both are major pieces to its name that adequately conveys the general idea. Likewise, The 'United Sates' or 'America' are both major pieces in the nation's name, and both adequately convey the idea.

If there was another nation with the word 'America' in it's name, than it could be on the border of reasonable and unreasonable. If that other nation was, like Ireland, specifically known by that word, it would be completely unreasonable. Fortunately, the US doesn't face any of those issues.

Even if the nation did, if the person you are speaking to understands exactly what nation or place you are referring to, it is still reasonable. As said in Argument II, all a word needs to do is convey an idea. If what you say conveys the idea as you need it conveyed, it is completely reasonable, even if it is not the "proper" term.

Conclusion: It is entirely reasonable to use the term America since it conveys the intended idea (unless you simply screw up the idea, which is on you, not on the word.) And it is reasonable to use the word America as paraphrasing is common among almost all nations, and saying or typing America can be, to many people, more convenient.
Jirezhiat

Con

Argument I: It's a common tactic for shortening numerous names.

"The United States of America is not the only nation that does this."

**Argumentum ad populum - Just because it is commonly used by other nations, does not make it right. You can say that it makes it more convenient in communication to use it in general though, to which I will follow up soon with my rebuttal.

"While USA is indeed shorter, many people feel more comfortable using the term America instead."

**Here you say that 'USA' is shorter, while in the following sentence you contradict yourself when you say that the two are just as long.

"The USA is just as long as America (The USA - America), but quicker to type or write because it is one word."

"The complaints tend to only ever be directed towards the US, but here is a list of other nations that do this.: -list-"

**The USA is a special case for two reasons.

**For one the term 'USA' has been a lot more widely used to abbreviate the full name 'The United States of America' as opposed to other nations, with a couple of exceptions like 'The UK'. The term has been established to use in common everyday conversation by the people, not governments or other organizations. This is why it is more convenient to use than for any other nation, as it is understood by people today much better if one says 'USA' than if one would say 'FRB' for Brazil. Therefore we can see that the term 'USA' has established its place as an alternative to 'America' much more so than abbreviations are used for other nations.

**Secondly, the USA is known for having a lot more versatility in its juridical system. We can see this in two examples.

**The District of Columbia and the following 18 U.S. states currently do not have an enforceable death penalty statute.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

**In the following picture we can see the versatility in the USA's states' citizens' representatives' stance on cannabis.

http://upload.wikimedia.org...

**The USA is known for its patriotism. However, as we can notice from the term's 'United' connotation in 'the USA' the overall view is that people can both show their unity with the rest of the citizens, while still implying that they are in fact still in disagreement with various views about drug legality and capital punishment. This means that the term 'USA' both connotes unity and the needed separation between states' stances on drugs and major legal stances, which then does not put all the US citizens at risk of seeming like a nation that is not still having its internal disagreements about some juridically enforced stances on moral issues.

**Furthermore, the term 'USA' makes a clear difference between the nations in NA (North America) that are a part of the USA, as opposed to other nations in other parts of the continent. The term USA also makes a difference between the nations in Middle America and South America.

"In many of these cases, such as India and Mexico, the names (India, Mexico) are actually larger geopolitical areas. The land of Mexico, for example, includes all of Central America and Texas. The United States of Mexico only makes up slightly over half of all that, and yet we say Mexico instead."

**Mexico does not include the land of Texas. It was a part of Mexico for only 15 years in the early 19th century.

"We say Britain despite how the nation doesn't actually own all of Britannia"

**The name Britain goes back to Roman times when they called England and Wales "Britannia". The term and your information is outdated.

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk...

"or the UK despite how it leaves out North Ireland."

**NI is a part of the UK. SI is not part of the UK. Even with taking your point with assumption of meaning SI though, I still cannot comprehend the significance of comparing the situation of SI and the UK with the USA and the term 'America', so I am going to leave this point without a rebuttal.

"It's common to substitute the countries name for a shorter or more convenient phrase, even if that phrase doesn't completely represent it. To say it is wrong of the US to do, one must also acknowledge that it is wrong for every other nation as well. It would then be unreasonable to say Taiwan or Brazil."

**This is similar to your first argument which I deemed as using Argumentum ad populum. At this point I can also refer to my previous points where I showed how it is specific to a nation and its people how they want to use terms - with all their implications that they may carry to their unity and segregation - to describe their nation, and the term 'USA' is the most enabled at serving the people's purposes.

**As you say, the word 'America' does not completely describe the nation as opposed to the term 'USA'. The fact that you have failed to make up your mind about whether the terms 'the USA' and 'America' are really as short to say or not, further makes it hard to tell what your argument actually is.

Argument II: Words are only meant to convey ideas.

"Words, for the everyday person, isn't a part of technical language or jargon. Words have one purpose, and only one... To convey an idea. If they do this, they are as proper as normal people should require them to be. This is why when someone is improperly messing up a phrase or word to say something, we stop them and don't force them to say it right, because we understand the idea they are trying to convey. -- Since everyone understands exactly what place you are referring to, it's as proper as it needs to be for conventional conversation.""

**Words are specifically meant to convey ideas, I agree. In the case of describing the United States of America the term 'USA' is used to describe three things. Firstly the geographical area of USA with respect to segregation from other nations with the term 'America', secondly the unity between the states of the patriotic nation, and finally the internal segregation between juridical systems between various states.

**I would like to sum up how the two are not in controversy. The states are 'united' in spirit as a whole but like to make some differences in the fact that there are different states, in order to remind us that talking about the 'laws of america' does not imply the same thing as 'laws in the United States'. The latter reminds us that this specific state of the USA likes to be called the 'USA' for reasons that include the fact, that there are different regions with association to the term 'America' and some significant differences in laws in different states.

"Shakespeare was famous for doing this. Even though he didn't use the "proper" terms, everyone understand what the image he tried to convey was."

**Shakespeare, like most other poets before modern ages, created metaphors through context. Poets as well as regular people try to use the most definitive terms to carry out the most accurate implications of the word. Use of the term 'the USA' is only slightly, if at all, longer than the word 'America' in both typing and and speech. This extra effort is certainly worth the more precise connotation.

**However as I have done, in many cases you can just type or write "USA" without the preposition 'the' which is arguably easier to type than 'America'.

**Also, the term 'US' is not pleasant to some people's ears, especially in the USA, but it is still more precise than the term 'America', and this term 'US' is arguably virtually containing the same effort in speech and writing as 'America'.

Argument III: "The USA is the only nation with the word America in it." - so no confusion?

**I'll keep this one short by stating: Middle America, South America.

**Since your remaining argument section (which is supposed to be IV, not VI, btw) are reliant on what I have already deemed false, I am going to go to my conclusions so far without addressing the fourth part.

--

**The choice of the people in the United States of America and elsewhere has leaned towards the term 'USA' as opposed to 'America. Many other nations have settled with using the equivalent short-hands of 'America' as opposed to abbreviations like 'USA'. but the USA are a case that cannot be effectively compared to similar systems as the following summarizes.

**The term 'America' could be marginally easier to type or write with respect to the term 'the USA'. However, the abbreviated terms 'the USA' and 'the US' are more effective in conveying specific meaning in two ways. The term makes a clear difference between other nations that have the word 'America' in them, as well as makes the difference between the continent 'North America' and the regions of the USA within North America.

**The term 'America' is not more effective in implying that the particular region, within the continental landmasses of North America and South America, is being discussed. With its general unity, but with differences in juridical systems, 'the USA' continues to be a significantly better term to use than 'America', including even the most casual of conversations.
Debate Round No. 2
donald.keller

Pro

It's both great and tiresome to have an opponent that replies almost immediately to a post.

Argument I: It's a common tactic for shortening numerous names.

"The United States of America is not the only nation that does this."

Speech is a topic of popularity, speech is relative. Popularity does not determine whether or not the Sun is a Star, but it is the deciding factor behind what is acceptable language. Every rule of language and grammar isn't decided by objective fact, but relative popularity.

Ad Populum simply doesn't apply to language, where popularity determines what is right. You learn this by moving from New York to St. Louis (best city on Earth), and seeing how everyone speaks.

**Here you say that 'USA' is shorter, while in the following sentence you contradict yourself when you say that the two are just as long.

If you pay attention, I said "The USA" is the same size while simply "USA" is shorter. That's a simple observation. I said USA is shorter, but seeing has no one types only USA in general conversation, I should address the full phrase "The USA" which (in favor of my argument) isn't shorter. This can be observed when I did this: (The USA - America)

**The USA is a special case for two reasons.

Many things are referred to by numerous acceptable names. The term "The USA" is commonly used, just as is the phrase "America." A nation doesn't have to be called only one thing. The UK is also commonly called Britain, and England. All are acceptable phrases. Con is saying that you shouldn't say America because the USA is used more instead, which is Ad Populum (while not fallacious when referring to language, it is hypocritical.) All his argument really says is that both forms are acceptable and commonly used. Although saying USA is more commonly used is questionable.

Reason 2 of Con's argument is absolutely unrelated to the conversation. Diversity of population and Juridical System is not a factor in this topic, if it were, saying USA and anything that refers to the overall population at all would be wrong.

**Furthermore, the term 'USA' makes a clear difference between the nations in NA (North America) that are a part of the USA, as opposed to other nations in other parts of the continent. The term USA also makes a difference between the nations in Middle America and South America.

I already addressed this. In general conversation, everyone already knows what you are talking about. Few people are going to be confused about what you are talking about. I will adress this further in Argument V.

**Mexico does not include the land of Texas. It was a part of Mexico for only 15 years in the early 19th century.

I was talking about the geopolitical Mexico, which does in fact include Texas. It was entirely obvious by context clues and by reading it. "The land of Mexico, for example, includes all of Central America and Texas. The United States of Mexico only makes up slightly over half of all that, and yet we say Mexico instead."

**The name Britain goes back to Roman times when they called England and Wales "Britannia". The term and your information is outdated.

And yet it is entirely okay to say it. The term is not outdated because it is old... We have thousand of research papers and articles from a few hundred years ago that is still in use, and Alexanders war strategies lasted us thousands of years before guns. The name is still in common use and is entirely acceptable. I am well aware of the history of Julius Caesar visiting Britannia 2 times before heading back to finish his conquest of Gaul.

"or the UK despite how it leaves out North Ireland."

When did I mention South Ireland? They weren't even apart of that conversation, a mere Straw man.

**This is similar to your first argument which I deemed as using Argumentum ad populum.

Ad Populum does not apply to language, where right and wrong is determine by popular usage. It's how language has changed so much over centuries.

**As you say, the word 'America' does not completely describe the nation as opposed to the term 'USA'.

As my whole argument implies, it's okay to because, even though the phrase doesn't completely fit, everyone understands what you are saying, and that's all it has to do (as mentioned more in Argument 2). Now the rest of your argument was pure ad hominem. I knew what I was saying, you understood it, not me. Keep personal attacks out.

Argument II: Words are only meant to convey ideas.

**Words are specifically meant to convey ideas, I agree.

As mentioned in the argument, people understand exactly what the term "America" is referring to. For starters, people never say America when referring to the continents, they only say "The Americas' because there are two of the continents. This is immediate separation enough. Secondly, context clues and basic listening can inform you of what the person is talking about, and if it can't, than the person is at fault for being vague, not the word's fault.

**Shakespeare, like most other poets before modern ages, created metaphors through context.

Shakespeare literally invented entire words no one had ever heard before, as well as phrases. They were acceptable as okay because everyone knew what you were referring to through, as you put it, contexts. The same principle goes for saying America.

**However as I have done, in many cases you can just type or write "USA" without the preposition 'the' which is arguably easier to type than 'America'.

You've said "The USA" every time, not just USA, which, related to Argument I, is the same size as America. When saying USA, you usually (most the time) have to add THE onto it, making it the same size as just saying America. Since America is one word, it's easier for many people to type or say.

**I'll keep this one short by stating: Middle America, South America.

Those are continents, not Countries... I specifically said it's the only Country with the word America in it. No one EVER says America in reference to N and S America. They say North America or South America, or The Americas. The lone phrase America is more commonly associated with just the USA. Go up and ask anyone if they have been to the Americas, and they will assume you are referring to NA and SA. Now go up and ask them if they have been to America, and they will assume you are referring to the USA. However, if you do say just America when referring to the Americas, people will generally know what place you are referring to through contexts (unless you don't have enough contexts, then they will assume you are referring to the USA).

**The choice of the people in the United States of America and elsewhere has leaned towards the term 'USA' as opposed to 'America.

This is entirely false. Usage of America vs USA is entirely based of area, but the general population uses them both regularly. Con's argument is still hypocritical. It's Ad Populum when I use the argument, but entirely appropriate when he uses it. However, I used the argument to back the idea that it's okay to use the word America, he uses it to say it's bad to not say USA. What about saying United Sates, or the US, or to say "The States"? Are those improper words because more people prefer "Word A" over "Word B"... No. All Con's argument is showing is that it is appropriate to use any of those phrases.

Con is arguing that you shouldn't say America because more people use the USA (hupocritical of his very first rebuttal) but many people use America as well. He's saying that since everyone says the USA instead, nothing else is appropiate to use, ingnoring phrases like "Car" and "Vehicle"or "Computer" and "Laptop". "Ship" and "Vessel" or "Wasted" and "Hammered".

**The term 'America' is not more effective in implying that the particular region, within the continental landmasses of North America and South America, is being discussed.

It's not more effective, but it works. Although it's only slightly less as effective. With most people, in fact, it's just as effective. Anyone you speak to will understand entirely what place you are referring to.

Argument V: America Vs America.

While it's easy to assume the two would be confusing, they aren't. General conversation does not involve the two words in commonly interchangeable positions. When referring to North America, people say the full name, as to not get confused with South America (because neither has a monopoly on the implication of the word, unlike the USA, which does have a large share over the word in the implication market.) When referring to both, and sometimes just one (when you don't really care which one they think of) people will say "The Americas'.

No one actually refers to the landmasses as America. This generally leaves the term available for the USA. This can be a simple observation. Go to someone outside the US and asked what they think of America. Because you neither specified a continent or said "The Americas', they automatically know what you are referring to.

Unless the conversation calls for more context or clarity, the word implies the USA. We see this in the Wikipedia article for American (merely the adjective variant of America):
"In some expressions it retains this Pan-American sense, but its usage has evolved over time and, for various historical reasons, the word came to denote people or things specifically from the United States of America."

(and yes, Wikipedia, while not a great source, is an acceptable source in a non-Political debate)

1) http://en.wikipedia.org...(word)
Jirezhiat

Con

Jirezhiat forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SeventhProfessor 3 years ago
SeventhProfessor
I won't respond to your points because they aren't relevant to the resolution. If you can provide any logic in saying DK had to show that America is better than US, you'll have an argument. Unfortunately, you have failed to do that.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Mate. You don't belong here. This is a place for smart intellectuals who debate properly and with respect. Leave, before I report you to Airmax.
Posted by Jirezhiat 3 years ago
Jirezhiat
just how much space will you give for me to ridicule you?

there isn't a single argument point that either of you had debated with me.

All you end up doing is rambling all about the resolution, which may sound appealing due to the fact that one can choose on this free-debate format, such a resolution and argumentation type that it is purposely serving the proponent's purposes

i am sorry to go here, but all i can do here in light of your "gnorance is to state that you are un"ntelligent and do not understand the nature of constructive discussions as a dialogue with accurate regards to any parameters.

have a nice life. i will stop following new posts because it's hard to play chess with pigeons who sh"t on the board and strut around;

pretending they are victorious.
Posted by SeventhProfessor 3 years ago
SeventhProfessor
It is, in general conversation, entirely reasonable to say 'America' instead of the USA. No where does it say saying America is better. If you didn't read the resolution. that's your fault.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
I have.. And I've won them too. Although winning this debate wasn't really something anyone brought up here. That'd be bad conduct. I've debated, and won against, many intelligent people on here.

Go on Historum... It's a site with uni professors and some of the smartest people in the world... And try telling them it's bad to the call the US America. They will laugh at you.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
kfc
Posted by Jirezhiat 3 years ago
Jirezhiat
For idiot number 1, 7thprofessor: are YOU serious? did you ever go to the school of common sense? whether x or y is better is always subject to the substitute variables of x and y.

if you want to have an easier time debating over an opinion, such as higher validity of 'America', you will, as donald.keller did, argue that it is "fine" to use 'America' as opposed to saying it's 'better' to use 'America'.

He had a much, much easier time to argue based on that, which would have required him to actually have solid arguments. I already pointed out his a) lack of correct information b) lack of coherent thinking.

donald.keller: winning this debate means nothing significant. try to argue against someone, even remotely intelligent, with your argument points in real life, with the resolution presented, and you will get - as you did from me -ridicule.

Have a fun life, and I hope you stop debating soon. *pukes*
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Yay!
Posted by SeventhProfessor 3 years ago
SeventhProfessor
What donald said. (I'm helping)
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
The resolution was clear. There was no semantics. I don't care what you call the US, the resolution isn't about which is better. I was arguing that it's okay to say America, because it is.

We are, afterall, called the United States of AMERICA.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
donald.kellerJirezhiatTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: An interesting debate. S&G was equal enough (though, I'd like to give a heads up to Pro that part of his WIkipedia link was linked wrong because DDO HATES punctuation in URLs). Conduct for the forfeit. And, in as short a debate as this was, that last forfeit really killed Con's chances of winning. I found his arguments surprisingly interesting. Unfortunately, by letting Pro have the "last say", he shot himself in the proverbial foot, and I found Pro to warrant argument points. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.