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Hello

Is there any difference in meaning between:
a) They are the Americans/They are Americans
b) He is American/He is an American For example: The guy here is American/The guy here is an American.

Thanks
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Hi,

Is there any difference in meaning between:
a) They are the Americans The specific ones that we have already mentioned.

/They are Americans Non-specific reference.

b) He is American/He is an American For example: The guy here is American/The guy here is an American.
Not a lot of difference here. It's like saying 'He's French' versus 'He's a Frenchman'.

Clive
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a) the Americans in that sentence can be used to mean a specific group of Americans or to refer generically to Americans. Without the, only the generic meaning is possible.
b) There is no real difference in the examples you cite. American alone will be taken as an adjective; with an, the expression will be taken as a noun. It's the difference between saying he has a certain characteristic shared by members of a certain group and saying he is a member of a certain group. No difference in meaning. They both amount to the same thing.
CJ
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Thanks Clive and Calif!
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Hi,
Very generally speaking, I'd usually consider 'the Americans' to be a specific reference to a specific group, even if other groups are only implied.

eg When we say 'The Americans did this', we are implicitly saying that we're not talking about the French or the British.

Best wishes, Clive