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Difference between UK and Great Britain?



 
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #1 (permalink) Fri Jan 20, 2006 23:45 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

OK, there is this guy from London who's a student here at our university. We've recently had a discussion with him when somebody asked him what the difference between UK and Great Britain was. He said there was none - both terms would be used for the same country. I remembered that our English teacher back at school had told us that there IS a difference and that Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales while the UK is Great Britain plus Northern Ireland. A glance through Wikipedia confirmed that my memory is not that bad at all ;-).
Now, here is my question: How come this Londoner isn't aware of the difference between the UK and Great Britain? Maybe British citizens don't pay too much attention to these definitions because after all it is not imporant anyway. Perhaps it's a bit like referring to the UK by saying England?
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The Uk vs. Great Britain vs. Britain #2 (permalink) Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:41 am   The Uk vs. Great Britain vs. Britain
 

Hello Andreana,

Maybe you’ve already visited the ‘Know Britain’ site. Anyway, the following quote from one of their pages might answer your questions. At the same time, it shows that you practically replied to them yourself:

Quote:
GREAT BRITAIN, THE UNITED KINGDOM,
THE BRITISH ISLES, BRITISH ISLANDS

Many are not aware of the precise meaning of the term "Great Britain". Even many British are unaware of the precise reality that the term expresses. Try asking a person living in the United Kingdom the exact meaning of the expression they have on their passports: "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Many will not be able to provide an adequate answer. No wonder, therefore, that confusion also exists outside the United Kingdom and that in other European countries people erroneously group together the English, Scottish and Welsh under the word in their own language meaning "English". Hence, for example, the French commonly group them together in the term "anglais" and the Italians "inglesi". This can be a cause of offence for the Scottish and the Welsh.


(In Spain, too, you can still hear ‘Inglaterra’ and ‘los ingleses’ as global terms, even though many of us know it’s wrong.)

Quote:
The adjective "British"
The adjective "British" is, of course, used in relation to Great Britain but there is also a common tendency to use it when referring to issues relating to both Great Britain and the United Kingdom. This is inaccurate and from a legal point of view erroneous.
Sometimes, however, in legislation the term "British" is used to refer to the United Kingdom as a whole, especially in matters relating to the question of nationality.
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British #3 (permalink) Mon Jan 23, 2006 13:51 pm   British
 

Hi Andreana,

Speaking as someone who's lived here what seems for ever, I have to admit that it's a complete muddle. If you talk about the English, people in the other parts of the country say: What about us (Scottish/Welsh/northern Irish)? The other expression The British sounds terribly formal to me and of late the expression is The Brits, which to me sounds like the title of a soap opera. I also find it very irritating when I go through one of these lists on the Internet where you're asked for your country. Is it Great Britain or United Kingdom? But there we are - it's one of life's minor irritations. On this site in my newsletters I usually say: Here in the UK we ... and when I fill up (or fill out) a form, I usually write: British/English and that seems to suffice.

Have I confused you or what?

Alan
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Uk vs. great britain #4 (permalink) Mon Jan 23, 2006 16:50 pm   Uk vs. great britain
 

Hi Alan, thanks a lot for clarifying this point - it shows how complex life can be. That's why it's good that we have the opportunity to pick your brain and get an explanation from you whenever we need. By the way I look forward to reading the next issue of your newsletter.
Regards
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THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND #5 (permalink) Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:23 pm   THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
 

Someone mentioned about how a Londoner didn't know the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain. As already stated by someone else the UK consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whereas Great Britain consisted of the three countries minus Northern Ireland.

But let's muddy the geographical waters a little more. Great Britain is called 'GREAT', not because it is particularly great in the meaning of the word but because it was greater than Brittany in France, which was once under the rule the same monarch, and so that was why Britain was called 'great' to differentiate it from Brittany.

Let's throw a spanner into the Northern Ireland part of the geographical works. Northern Ireland is made up of six counties which is a dependancy of Great Britain. Now Ireland is divided into 4 Provinces, one of which is Ulster, (the other 3 belong to the Irish Republic) consisting of nine counties, wherein lies the six counties already mentioned - the other three counties belong to the Republic of Ireland. Even some natives of Northern Ireland (the British part) find it difficult to get their mind round this as some UK politicians refer to the Irish Dependancy as Ulster, others refer to it as Northern Ireland and yet others to it as simply the 'NORTH'. Now, bear with me on this as it gets slightly difficult. Donegal is a county of Ulster, it is at the extreme northern part of the island of Ireland, it belongs to the Republic of Ireland which is referred to as the 'SOUTH'. So Donegal, whilst situated in the North is in fact in the South. Clear so far?
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #6 (permalink) Fri Oct 17, 2008 17:31 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

My two cents:

Great Britain = the island of Britannia (England, Wales and Scotland)

UK = United Kingdom of Great Britain (Britannia) and Northern Island

I suggest that the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish national soccer teams consolidate into one team -- the UK. Such combined forces would really be something to behold... or might, anyway, if any Scottish, Welsh or Norther Irish were good enough to unseat any of England's players. hehe

hehe

Though, seriously, England really badly needs a natural left-side midfielder... so maybe Scotland or Wales could help with that. Ryan Giggs, for instance, could be yanked out of international retirement to play on the left.
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #7 (permalink) Sat Oct 18, 2008 0:37 am   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

prezbucky wrote:
I suggest that the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish national soccer teams consolidate into one team -- the UK. Such combined forces would really be something to behold... or might, anyway, if any Scottish, Welsh or Norther Irish were good enough to unseat any of England's players. hehe

I think such an undertaking would result in more lobbyism than there was before Cappello's arrival. You'd only have to look at the Lions (rugby concentration of troops) to see how the best European players are slaughtered by the all blacks over and over again!
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #8 (permalink) Sat Oct 18, 2008 18:50 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

don't they always play in New Zealand though?
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #9 (permalink) Fri Jul 09, 2010 14:14 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

I think Britons are the same as foreigners in that their use of language can be lazy but I am not sure why the Londoner you refer to didn't understand the difference. I am someone who finds the wrong use exceedingly irritating. I note that many Americans, including recent Presidents insist on calling the UK "Great Britain". The term "Great Britain" is actually very rarely used in the UK. The information on Wikipedia is correct, and is available to billions of people around the world: England, Scotland etc. are semi-autonomous regions, Great Britain is an island and not a country, the country is called the United Kingdom. I think it is simple to understand, clearly it is not!!

To summarise (i) for discussions on ethnicity/language, use English, Welsh etc. (the English are largely of German/Danish extraction, the Welsh, Scots and Irish are Celts), (ii) for legal purposes refer to 'England and Wales', 'Scotland', or ‘Northern Ireland’ (iii) for geographical purposes the terms 'Great Britain' and 'British Isles' (now politically incorrect) are used, (iv) for political purposes only ever refer to the United Kingdom (UK).

So we are Britons speaking English, Welsh etc. with three legal systems inhabiting many islands, the largest of which is Great Britain, which together with Northern Ireland forms a country called the UK; the UK consists of four constituent semi-autonomous regions - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, three of which have their own assemblies. Our representation in the EU, in NATO, the UN etc. is only ever as the UK. We carry UK passports and our nationality is British (English isn't strictly a nationality). For historical reasons we compete in sporting events as constituent nations. The Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not part of the UK. Simple!
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #10 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 16:28 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

I think allot of the confusion with UK residents getting things wrong is compounded by (read as didn't exist before) web form developers insisting on grouping phrases such as "UK" or "Great Britain" under drop down lists for "Country".

This forces us into filling in the form deliberately wrongly, and in the case of Northern Ireland, sometimes making us choose between "Great Britain" or "Ireland", neither of which is true in any sense - at least "Great Britain" is relevant for England, Scotland and Wales.

How hard can it be to expand a one line entry to show all 5 constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland? (Ireland being part of the geographical British Isles in case your wondering.) And as for the Isle of Man... isn't that a separate political entity also? I cant remember the last time I saw THAT on a drop down list!! It's a maximum of 5 extra lines of code, it really is NOT hard to implement.

Ergo: its a total lack of respect for countries involved, or its simply a case of downright ignorance and laziness! Both of which are not good advertising in my opinion!
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #11 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 17:11 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

Without looking it up - I am pretty sure Britain is "the mainland"(in a Northern Ireland Context) The British Isles and Great Britain (I think are the same)include the Shetland Islands Channel Islands Isle of man,wight etc and the United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland athletes etc can compete in the Olympics for the "United Kingdom"
When they are doing well they are British - when their not - they are Irish!

As Mike Bull often used to joke :-) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Bull -
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Difference between UK and Great Britain? #12 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 21:03 pm   Difference between UK and Great Britain?
 

Great Britain is different from the British Isles.

The British Isles are purely a geographic rather then political entity, comprising of The UK (more properly The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and The Republic of Ireland, as well as surrounding islands (including the Isle of Man and The Channel Islands).

Great Britain is the political entity of England, Scotland and Wales plus islands such as Shetland and Orkney islands (and does NOT include Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel islands).

The UK is, as mentioned above, a political entity more properly known as The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This does not include Republic of Ireland, Channel islands or Isle of Man.

None of "The UK", "Great Britain" or "British Isles" are a country. The countries of "The UK" are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For political purposes The Shetland and Orkney islands are under the jurisdiction of Scotland, while The Channel islands and Isle of Man are classed as separate countries - each with their own laws - but under the protection of "The UK" as Crown Dependencies.
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