A recent BBC News article mentions "the discovery of a vast 'microbial mat', covering an area equivalent to the size of Greece".
It's unusual to see Greece used as a unit of comparison or measurement. I find it harder to gauge the area of Greece than, say, France, because of Greece's irregular shape and large number of islands. Or are we only talking about mainland Greece?
Interestingly, the country closest in size to Greece is England, with an area of 130,395km2 as opposed to Greece's 131,957km2.
So why didn't BBC News use England as a unit of comparison rather than Greece? I'm fairly sure that a) more British people will read the article in question than Greek people, and b) British people have a better idea of the area of England than the area of Greece.
Or would using England as a unit of comparison be more confusing to readers who are neither Greek nor British? When I taught English as a foreign language in Russia, many of my students were hazy on the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.
The ambiguous Oxford comma
2 days ago