1. We are citizens of the US.
  2. We are the citizens of the US.

I mostly use #2 when I use sentences like this. According to me, #2 suggests that we are talking about a specific group of citizens that is the citizens of the US; but I am still having a hard time to figure out that where we can use #1. What does #1 suggest? What’s the difference between #1 and #2?


1 Answer 1


#1 means that all members of the group (we) have US citizenship. It would be true of any group of US citizens.

#2 strictly means that the group includes every US citizen, and no others. It can really only be used by somebody who is speaking for the nation as a whole.

  • The meaning looks very similar. Can they both be user interchangeably? Sep 30, 2020 at 7:09
  • No. The second group is a specific group, which contains around 330 million people.
    – Peter
    Sep 30, 2020 at 9:06
  • So #1 suggests that all members are from the US even those members who have the citizenship, but don’t live there. Am I correct? Sep 30, 2020 at 16:26
  • Yes, like "we are musicians". Noting some US citizens have never been to the US (some children born overseas to US citizens).
    – Peter
    Oct 1, 2020 at 0:54

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