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The United States of America

United States

The United States of America is a federal union of 50 states plus one independent district — the District of Columbia. Forty-nine states are situated on the continent but the 50th state is the state of Hawaii — a group of islands situated in the mid Pacific Ocean.

The vast and various territory of the United States stretches from the Atlantic Ocean, across the rich farms of the central plains, over the majestic Rocky Mountains to the fertile, densely populated West coast. (1) ... The USA is twice as large as all the countries of Europe combined. It is washed by the Atlantic in the east and the Pacific in the west and controls the Panama Canal connecting these two oceans. (2) ... In the course of the last hundred years the USA has fought many a war, always on foreign soil. Its own land has remained untouched.

America is a land of contrasts, including the weather. (3) ... The Mississippi River, of great historic and economic importance to the USA, runs about 6,000 km from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico — the world's third longest river after the Nile and Amazon. The country is rich in coal, iron, ore, oil, natural gas, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, aluminium, uranium and other natural resources.

The population of America is about 253 million, made up of immigrants or their descendants from virtually every country of the world. (4) ... Black Americans who today number more than 30 million, constitute the largest single ethnic minority in the country. The US

population is also made up of Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, and Eskimos.

The form of US government is based on the Constitution of September 17, 1787, adopted after the War of Independence. (5) ... .

The United States of America is a parliamentary republic. The government is divided into three branches: legislative (the US Congress), executive (the President and his Administration) and judicial (the US Supreme Court).

Each of the fifty states of the USA has a constitution patterned after the federal constitution, with its division of power: legislative, executive, and judicial.

2. Pronunciation

Cross out the letters in the words which are not pronounced. Listen to the teacher and check your answers.

Island, ocean, farm, untouched, weather, ore, resource, descen­dant.

3. Word Study

A. Find international words in the text and write them out. Learn
their correct pronunciation.

B. Write out the proper names used in the text (mind the articles)
and transcribe them.

C. Give Russian equivalents to the following word combinations:

in the mid Pacific Ocean; fertile, densely populated West coast; to be twice as large as all the countries of Europe combined; to be washed by; the USA has fought many a war; to remain untouched; the world's third longest river after the Nile and Amazon; to be made up of immigrants or their descendants; to constitute the largest single ethnic minority in the country; a parliamentary republic.

D. Give English equivalents to the word combinations:

федеральный союз; на протяжении последнего столетия; стра­на богата запасами угля; практически со всех стран мира; насчи­тывать свыше тридцати миллионов; конституция, составленная в соответствии с федеральной конституцией; надежная охрана; поправка к конституции; "Билль о правах".


E. Match the words from A with their opposites from B.


fertile, vast, connect, contrast, war, immigrant, plain, rich, reliable disconnect, sameness, peace, native, mountain, unreliable, poor, infertile, tiny

F Match the words from A with their synonyms from B.


majestic, constitute, soil, reliable, descendant, safeguard, virtually, amendment, across practically, correction, offspring, make up, through, trustworthy, land, protection, grand

G. Group the words according to the part of speech they belong to. What formal signs helped you to decide on the part of speech?

Amendment, reliable, executive, various, federal, descendant, natural, immigrant, minority, legislative, independent, central, densely, historic, importance, majestic, virtually.

Grammar Focus

A. Study the following speech patterns.

adverb+ adjective/adverb/past participle

The country stretches from the industrial Atlantic Ocean to the densely populatedWest coast. English is widely spoken.

half I twice/three times, etc. + as + adjective/adverb + as

The USA is twice as large asall the countries of Europe combined. A house in London costs twice as muchas a similar house in Liverpool.

to be of great! crucial I paramount I little, etc. importance

The Mississippi River is of great historic and economic importanceto the USA. Customer satisfaction is of paramount importanceto us.

to be rich in

The country is rich incoal, iron, ore, oil, natural gas, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, aluminium, uranium and other natural resources.

B. Complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning
to the first sentence, using the word given. Do not change the word

1. It'll cost you double what you paid last time. twiceIt'll cost you ....

2. This law is very important for sole proprietors. importanceThis law ....

3. From a commercial point of view the decision was clever. commerciallyIt was a ... .

4. He now earns double the amount he used to. twiceHe now earns ....

5. Their prices are three times bigger than ours. asTheir prices are ... .

6. The report is very detailed.

richThe report is ... .

7. It is incredible how quickly he became a top manager.
incrediblyHe became ....

8. The United States has a lot of mineral resources and fertile
farm soil.

richThe United States is ... .

9. Extensive waterways are very important for the country's
economic growth.

importanceExtensive waterways are ... .

C. Find the sentences with the verbals in the text "The United
States of America" and translate them.

Diving Deeper

A. Agree or disagree with the following statements.

1. All the states of the USA are situated on the North American continent. 2. The US territory is double the territory of all the countries of Europe combined. 3. Over the last century there were no wars fought on the territory of the USA. 4. American nature is very varied. 5. Most of American population is made up of American Indians' descendants. 6. The US Constitution of 1787 has been completely changed. 7. Apart from the Federal Constitution there are also State Constitutions.

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