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"London, England" Syndrome

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"There are two Portlands?! Why would they do that?!"

Sky Masterson: We're going to my favorite restaurant. El Cafe Cabana. [In] Havana.
Sarah Brown: (shocked) Havana, Cuba?
Sky Masterson: Well, what other Havana is there?

London, England. In case you confused it with London, Ontario.

There are a great many American cities and towns named after places from Europe: mostly British places, but French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch names crop up across the USA, not to mention numerous variations and simplifications of Native American spellings. This reflects the USA's origins as being colonized by people from across Europe. Interestingly enough, lots of major American cities are far bigger than their European counterparts ever were. (Cleveland, Boston, Rochester, and Portlandnote  are among the most obvious examples — though two major exceptions do exist in the cities of Birmingham and Manchester.)

But let's look at a number of American places in comparison to show how common this is. Odessa, Ukraine, and Odessa, Texas; Vienna, Austria, and Vienna, Virginia; then there are duplicate cities, e.g. the much older and smaller city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is almost completely ignored compared to Las Vegas, Nevada, while Wilmington, North Carolina, is about the same size as Wilmington, Delaware. There are so many examples that some non-examples are often confused for examples, such as the independent (ex-Soviet) republic of Georgia, known in its native language as Sakartvelo, and the U.S. state of Georgia, which was actually named for King George II.

Unfortunately, this results in some confusion and frustration for many Americans. Since the USA is big and — though somewhat sparsely-populated for much of its land area — home to quite a few cities, and many of these cities have similar if not identical names (for instance, there are thirty-two states that have a city named "Springfield" and twenty-seven settlements named "Canton"), Americans often describe an American location as "City Name, State",note  and describe a foreign location as "City Name, Country" to parallel that.note  This works well in the USA, but becomes rather jarring and annoying for foreigners, who find it annoying that after being shown Tower Bridge (itself not to be confused with the same named, but golden bridge in Sacramento, California), the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul's Cathedral all in one shot, they still need to say "London, England".

In France, the tendency is to ram the identifier into the town name itself, so one gets places like Sainte-Marie-sur-Mer and Sainte-Marie-de-Ré and Sainte-Marie-des-Champs, etc. However, there are also over a dozen places called just plain Sainte-Marie in France alone; here you would have to specify in which département the one you mean is situated. The English equivalent would be, say, "Springfield-in-Massachusetts" and "Springfield-on-Black-River". Some British towns, such as Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Stratford-upon-Avon, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Kingston-by-Ferring, follow this scheme as well, as do German-speaking towns and cities Neustadt an der Aisch, Neustadt am Rübenberge, Neustadt in Holstein, and Neustadt an der Weinstraße (four places called "new town" named respectively after a river, a hill, a province, and a scenic route). Canada follows the British model in a few places, notably Niagara-on-the-Lakenote , so-called to distinguish it from Niagara Falls down the road. The US is home to Washington-on-the-Brazos in Texas and Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio (the lake in this case being Erie), which distinguishes it from plain old Geneva, Ohio, a few miles south.note 

The Japanese equivalent is to rename a town or city that shares its name with a more famous counterpart so that it also includes the name of the ancient province. Nagano City in Osaka had the same name as that other Nagano (the one with all the skiing, in the prefecture of the same name), so they changed it to Kawachi-Nagano. Happens a lot with similarly-named train stations, too.

A slightly different form is sometimes used: Americans from small towns will usually specify their state simply to give a general idea of what region they're from. If someone says he is from Miamisburg, Ohio, it isn't because there's another Miamisburg out there (there isn't, as far as we know), but because people from other states have no idea where in the world Miamisburg is. (Hell, a lot of people in Ohio have no idea where it is. Small towns aren't particularly recognizable to begin with.) The foreign equivalent might be for someone from a small town to give the name of the nearest major city.

Gets used in the Title In a lot. An example of Creator Provincialism. Often mocked, although it's still a popular trope. Named by Bill Bryson. The Other Wiki has a list of the most-commonly-used city names.

In case you were wondering, aside from London, England, there are at least 26 cities, towns, or villages whose full name is "London". note  There are many more such communities with "London" as part of their name and at least 2 London Islands (both in Chile; one is also known as Cook Island to alleviate confusion).


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  • Inverted with a Nike ad during the 2012 London Olympics. Since they weren't an official sponsor, they couldn't explicitly mention the Olympics. They could, however, show athletes in all the other Londons around the world, as long as they didn't have any references to London, England, or to the Olympics. After some controversy, it was decided that this was legal.
  • Similar to Nike, bookmakers Paddy Power proclaimed in its advertising campaign during the summer of 2012 that they were the sponsors of the of the biggest athletics event in London that year, with a disclaimer stating that the London in question is a village in France where Paddy Power were organizing an egg-and-spoon race. Unsurprisingly, the Olympic Organising Committee weren't too pleased with the proclamation but after toing and froing of threats with lawsuits and countersuits, they were powerless to have the advertisements banished.
  • An old ad for Capital One features a family complaining about their credit card service not offering them free airline miles for purchases, so the dad invents a machine to teleport them to their vacation destination. The father enters the destination as St. Petersburg, Florida, with the family dressed in beach attire. The machine teleports them to cold St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Comic Books 
  • Played with in an early Cable story where Cable goes on a date with Domino:
    Cable: Well, it was either this or Big Macs in Paris.
    Domino: I like Paris.
    Cable: Paris, Oklahoma? note 
  • This forms the main misunderstanding of an old Italian Disney Ducks story. Scrooge and Donald misinterpret a story from Classical Mythology and organize a treasure expedition in the vicinity of Thebes, Egypt. Their nephews eventually understand that the text was narrating the story of Oedipus, King of Thebes, and that they should be searching for the treasure in Thebes, Greece.
    • In another Disney Ducks story, the Ducks are supposed to meet several allies and rivals in the French archipelago of Guadeloupe (in the Caribbean). They are puzzled when they are the only ones to arrive at the meeting place. Then they realize that, due to a misunderstanding, everyone else headed for Guadalupe Island (in Baja California).
  • During a period in X-Men when Storm had been de-aged and memory-wiped back to being the street kid Professor X first met in Egypt, she headed to Cairo, Illinois, because she found something familiar about the name.

    Films — Animated 
  • Spoofed in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, where the opening scene (set in Egypt) is subtitled: "Egypt, Millions of Years Ago, 3 p.m., 1492, New York."
  • In Rugrats in Paris, Kira and Chas introduce themselves to one another, and Kira asks Chas if he's ever visited Paris before; Chas says he hasn't been to Paris, France, but has been to Paris, Texas.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has an important sequence set in Venice, Italy.
  • Parodied in Team America: World Police: Every time the location changed, there would be a subtitle that stated the place's name and its distance in miles from AMERICA!
    Joe: Cairo...that's in Egypt.note 
    • A similar, but more extreme, parody occurs in the Canadian radio series As It Happens—something of a mixture of 60 Minutes and The Daily Show, with a small bit of A Prairie Home Companion thrown in—which, regardless of the context, when discussing locations in the British Isles, will always give both the name of the location and its exact distance from Readingnote  as a Running Gag.
  • Subverted in the movie Paris, Texas. A man is going around with a photograph telling people it is of Paris, even though it is clear that the photo shows a desert landscape. Incidentally, the real Paris, Texas looks nothing like what is shown in the photo. Paris, Texas the movie is shot in the deserts of West Texas, which is all rugged desert, while Paris, Texas the city is in East Texas, which is mostly grass plains and forest.
    • Combined perhaps with Creators Are Morons, since the same movie also gives us the caption "The Pentagon, Washington D.C."note 
  • Played with in Road Trip, where "Austin, Texas" morphs into "Boston, Massachusetts" and several variations on those. The trailing state doesn't seem to do much to help locate the town in question.
  • In the movie Mississippi Masala, when Demetrius is taking Meena to meet his family this happens. When Meena says she is from India, his great-uncle asks if she means Indianola, Mississippi.
  • A "Cairo, Egypt" label appears in The Mummy Returns. Yes, a series that takes place almost entirely in Egypt still feels the need to specify "Cairo, Egypt". Weirdly, no labels tell us that Hamunaptra, an important location in the film, is in Egypt.
  • Parodied in John Cleese's made-for-TV film The Strange Case of the End of Civilization As We Know It, in which a dim-witted US President (a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Gerald Ford) orders a Secret Service agent to catch "the first plane to London, France".
  • Parodied in Orgazmo, which unnecessarily pairs it with the Eiffel Tower Effect: The opening shot is the Hollywood sign followed by the caption "Hollywood, California".
  • Deliberately averted in the title of the movie The Cars That Ate Paris, which is set in Paris, Australia.
  • Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: J.B. travels to Hollywoods all across America before he gets to Hollywood, California.
  • Scotland, PA takes place in modern-day Scotland, PA instead of Macbeth's Scotland.
  • The gays-and-Italians comedy Mambo Italiano plays with this trope as part of its Old World in the New World theme.
    Angelo [on the phone to a customer of the travel agency he works for] Yes, I apologize, but...I know your client is in the U.K. But you didn't say Glasgow, you insisted on New Glasgow. That's north of Montreal. So I chartered a bus. I say New Glasgow. You misunderstood. I don't mean to be confrontational, but there is no New Glasgow in Scotland. Well, no, they don't need a new one, they have the old one. It's actually quite simple. You see, many years ago, people from Glasgow, Glasconiansnote , left the old Glasgow and they came here. And they built a new Glasgow. And they called it New Glasgow because it was new. According to theoretical physics, eventually we'll be able to fold space so that the new Glasgow will overlap the old Glasgow. But until then, let me assure you that they are quite different places. Did I mention that New Glasgow just got waterslides? Those are fun.
    • His dad explains the naming misconceptions involved in a simple immigration:
      Gino: Nobody told us there was two America: the real one, United State, and the fake one, Canada. Then, to make matter even worse, there's two Canada: the real one, Ontario, and the fake one, Quebec.
  • Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear opens on a pan of Washington, D.C., then focuses onto the White House when a helpful "The White House" pops up on screen, followed several seconds later by "Washington, D.C.".
  • In In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier's character Virgil Tibbs is questioned as to where he resides:
    Tibbs: Philadelphia.
    Police Chief Gillespie: Philadelphia, Mississippi?
    Tibbs: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Mars Attacks!: Tom Jones greets Byron Williams by saying he saw Byron in a boxing match in "Cardiff, Wales". As a native Welshman, Jones obviously knows exactly where Cardiff is, so the explanation is for Byron's benefit since he's American and presumably less familiar with UK geography.
  • Played with to great effect in The Harvey Girls, which features a minor character explaining that she's from Paris:
    "I was born in Paris
    I was raised in Paris
    Went to school in Paris
    Where I met a boy,
    I was married in Paris,
    Almost buried in Paris,
    But I finally left Paris

    ...Paris, Illinois!"
    (Yes, there is such a place, 150 miles south of Chicago on the Indiana border.)
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: We have a vaguely-defined province, country example with "Northern Alberta, Canada."
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
      • A variation with territory and country listed occurs in the case of "Northwest Territories, Canada." The American writers clearly didn't do their research because a portion of this region didn't enter the Canadian Confederation until 1870 (and the other sections were later divided up into separate provinces and territories over the next few decades), so in 1845, it should've been referred to as "North-Western Territory, British North America." James Howlett and Victor Creed were therefore born as British citizens (although presumably it would've been easy for them to obtain Canadian citizenship after the Dominion of Canada was founded in 1867).
      • "Lagos, Nigeria."
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • "Geneva, Switzerland," "Villa Gesell, Argentina" and "Moscow, Russia." (In 1962, it could have been called "Moscow, USSR," as Russia—then the RSFSR, capital: Moscow—was a Republic within the Soviet Union, which in contemporary American media was often called "Russia" or "Soviet Russia.")
      • A variation which features a specific location and country is "Oxford University, England" (the correct term is the formal "University of Oxford").
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • "Pruszków, Poland"; "Cairo, Egypt."
      • Averted with "East Berlin."
  • A lot of characters in The Rocky Horror Picture Show sing about being from Transylvania, but this turns out to be the name of the galaxy they come from rather than the Romanian region.
  • Parodied in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where a subtitle identifies "Missouri, Earth."
  • In The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, the narrator notes that the story starts not in Ithaca, Greece... but Ithaca, New York.
  • Played with in some Marvel Cinematic Universe entries:

  • In The Great Gatsby, Tom is dismissive of Gatsby's claim to have gone to Oxford, scoffing that he's probably been to "Oxford, New Mexico, or something like that." (Ironically, Gatsby actually did attend Oxford, though plenty of the other details about his past are made up.)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum: Conklin has to point out he wants Vienna, Virginia instead of Vienna, Austria.
  • The Dan Brown novel Angels & Demons did a similar joke with Geneva.
  • Most of those "solve-the-mystery" books (including Encyclopedia Brown, of course) have at least one where the key to solving the mystery is knowing that there are apparently cities named London, Paris, Odessa, Athens, Jerusalem, or Palestine in Texas.note  It's always one of those six, and more importantly, it's always in Texas.
  • In American Gods the main character spends some time in Cairo, Illinois (where it's pronounced "Kay-ro"), and meets some beings from the other Cairo.
  • Partners in Crime: A plot point in story "The Case of the Missing Lady" is that there are two towns in England called Maldon; one in Surrey and one in Sussex. The characters know of Maldon, Surrey, so don't bother reading the "Maldon, Su..." address on a telegram properly. Only later does Tuppence realize that the telegraph office only give the county if they need to specify between two places with the same name. (The real town of Maldon is in Essex, however.)
  • In Cordwainer Smith's "Instrumentality" series, one of the most important cities on Earth is "Meeyameefla," obviously meant to be Miami, Fla. Note that "FL" is the more common abbreviation of Florida since ZIP codes were introduced.
    • But thanks to Lou Reed, to a lot of people it's always going to be "Miami, F-L-A".
  • In James Blish's classic Cities in Flight series, Earth's cities, fitted with antigravity generators and spacedrives, roam the Galaxy looking for work. Nevertheless, they still use names like "Chicago, Illinois" or "Scranton, Pennsylvania". This even becomes a plot point when one character spots the error in a city's name and realizes it's actually an alien battlestation.
  • In Piers Anthony's THE MACROSCOPE, an amateur astrologer, on being told that the subject was born in Philadelphia, feels the need to ask "Pennsylvania or Mississippi?"
  • In the Bunnicula book Return to Howliday Inn, one dog is happy to hear that his owner is in London, probably sipping tea with the Queen and everything. He is then informed that London is a town just over the border of the next state.
  • In the Tom Holt novel Here Comes The Sun, a trainee weather spirit manages to get the Nile to flood Memphis, Tennessee.
  • In How to Scrape Skies, George Mikes is rather sarcastic about the need to write "New York, NY" to indicate New York City is in New York State, before conceding that there might well be towns called New York all over the United States.
  • A children's book on various inventions (specifically in a chapter about the postage stamp) mentioned a (possibly apocryphal) story of a letter that was supposed to be delivered to Canton, Ohio, end up getting sent to Canton, China instead.
  • Briefly brought up in the kids James Patterson novel series Treasure Hunters, in the second book. When offering a crush the opportunity to come to Cairo with them, she asks The Ditz Tommy if he means Cairo, Egypt. He asks his sister Storm if there's another, to which she confirms- Cairo, Illinois.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Torchwood (previously set almost exclusively in Cardiff) became a joint production involving the American Starz network as well as BBC Wales, the setting of the fourth series Torchwood: Miracle Day was expanded to span both the UK and US, and the trope was applied to both American and British locations.
  • In an All in the Family episode, Archie loses his Christmas bonus after he messes up a shipment meant for London, Ontario.
  • In the Good Luck Charlie episode "Weekend in Vegas", Teddy secretly joins Ivy and her family on a trip to Las Vegas, believing they're going to the famous Las Vegas, Nevada. It turns out they're really going to Las Vegas, New Mexico.
  • Inverted on One Life to Live, blue-blooded matriarch Vicki (then Davidson) decides she needs to go on a trip to find herself and get her head together. When she calls her family, she tells them she's in Paris. Instead of clarifying, she deliberately lets them think she's in the famous Paris, rather than working as a diner waitress in Paris, Texas.
  • In a 3rd Rock from the Sun episode, the Big Giant Head threatened to send Dick to Mars if he failed at something:
    Dick: Oh, well, Mars isn't too bad.
    Big Giant Head: Not that Mars!
    Dick: Nooo!
  • Heroes is rather bad at this. Not to mention a teleported character being described as "Somewhere in Africa" (which, to be charitable, might have been intended to reflect his own confusion), and another Title In informing us that Peter is in Cork, Ireland, there is a whole subplot set in Odessa, Ukraine - apparently just for the sake of a joke, since Noah is from Odessa, Texas.
  • MST3K mocked this once when a caption said "Illinois, USA". As opposed to Illinois, Mongolia.
  • Played with in Monty Python's Flying Circus in the Cycling Tour episode when any time a city is mentioned it cuts away to Eric Idle in a military uniform standing in front of a map and pointing out the city's distance from 3 unrelated cities around Europe. By the third or fourth time he's eventually told to shut up by the characters in the sketch.
  • Played with in an episode of M*A*S*H where Maj. Winchester is attempting to get a call through to Boston. The Running Gag throughout that episode is that the person he's talking to attempts to clarify his references to Boston with "Boston, Massachusetts?", causing him to become progressively more annoyed in his response.
    Maj. Winchester: Yes, Massachusetts, you geographic whiz.
    Maj. Winchester: [through gritted teeth] No! It's spending the weekend in Florida!
    • Crowned during the episode's denoument, during which he is finally able to send a sober and confessional telegram to his sister, as dictated over the phone to the telegraph operator:
      Maj. Winchester: Honoria Winchester, Beacon Hill, Boston. [beat, then with a defeated air] Ye-es, Massachusetts.
  • Averted in Jericho (2006); going on the title alone you'd have no idea it took place in the United States, let alone Kansas.
    • That was kind of the point, since the show took place after a catastrophic bombing that left the residents isolated and unsure if the United States still truly existed.
  • Mentioned in an episode of Full House when Jesse's grandfather suddenly passes away during a visit. His body is being flown back home for the funeral, and Jesse tells the others that he needs to make sure the airline sends him to Athens, Greece, instead of Athens, Georgia.
  • Averted in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which regularly used scene-setting "Somewhere In (Insert Place Here)" captions.
  • Picket Fences had an episode that dealt with The Pope going to Rome. Not Rome in Italy but Rome, Wisconsin (the setting for the show).
  • The "gives the name of their State as well as their small town name for context" is poked fun at in Harry and Paul with the eccentric American tourist couple Ronald and Pam who always introduce themselves as being from Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho.
  • In one episode of The Lucy Show, Lucy takes the trope even further by specifying that she's taking a trip to "London, England, In Europe."
  • Night Court: Dan's grandfather named the tiny town of Paris, Louisiana where Dan grew up, after the city he was station in during World War I—Paris Illinois, that is.
  • The Benny Hill Show: In "Murder on the Oregon Express", Benny as Hercule Poirot mentions "Paris, France, Europe" on a couple of occasions.
  • In the Parks and Recreation epsisode "Ms. Knope Goes To Washington", Leslie is annoyed to discover that when she mentions her beloved hometown of Pawnee, she has to specify that it's the one in Indiana as there are "Pawnees" in several other states. (Truth in Television. The Other Wiki recognizes four "Pawnees" in the U.S. and one "Pawnee City".)
  • An episode of I Dream of Jeannie involves Jeannie going to Reno filing for separation from her Master, Tony, who thinks she's gone to Reno, Nevada, when she really went to "Reno, Persia."
  • Channel 4's cult late-night video review show Vids featured a notable example. The show was filmed in Glasgow (or Glasgow, Scotland, if you prefer). Presenter Nige, in the guise of cheesy American host McLumperty, once introduced the location as "Glasgow - London, England".
  • Criminal Minds will often use this in their captions—even, at times, for big cities like New York and Los Angeles—just so viewers know where the team is that week. It's justified so that the show can spend more time explaining the cases and getting to the action, especially when a case involves multiple cities at once.
    • In one episode, they make a plot point of Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS. Despite their proximity and sharing a name, they're across a state line from each other. This gives the FBI jurisdiction on a technicality when the local authorities don't want to investigate a case.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: In the film, Jethro is first mentioned when Elly May says he's coming from Oxford to visit them. The next scene shows him leaving Oxford, Arkansas.
  • In one episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn decides to run away to Europe and buys a train ticket to Paris. It has to be pointed out to him that he can't take a train from America to France and he's actually bought a ticket to Paris, TX.
    Shawn: I thought that meant taxes.
  • On a 1964 nighttime telecast of The Price Is Right, a contestant won a trip to Rome as a bonus prize. On the next bidding game, Bill Cullen quips that the contestant won a trip to Rome, Georgia.
  • Somehow played for both laughs and drama in an episode of Austin & Ally. The title characters, still in the awkward liminal area where they know they care about each other but aren't quite sure what to do with that information, are eager to reunite, only for one to wind up in Portland, Oregon, and the other in Portland, Maine. They try again, this time winding up in Washington State and Washington, D.C. Cue lots of teen angst and tender moments over the phone.
  • Silicon Valley: Gavin Belson announces that he is moving Hooli to Georgia to cut costs. His subordinates aren't thrilled to leave Silicon Valley but they console themselves with thoughts of Southern cooking and attending Freaknik, forcing Gavin to clarify that he means Georgia the country.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Remembrance", we get an estate and country variant with "Château Picard, France." It's interesting to note that there is a real place called Château Picard in Saint-Estèphe, France that has a vineyard and produces wine, although the one featured in this franchise is fictional because it's located in La Barre.
    • In The Teaser of "The End Is the Beginning", there's an odd city with planet variation with "San Francisco, Earth" as the caption. Someone in the production firmly believes that Viewers Are Morons.
  • A clip on World's Dumbest... features the "Redneck Olympics" which take place in Athens, Georgia. They draw a direct comparison to Athens, Greece, the site of the original Olympics.
  • The special guest stars on Hee Haw got a segment where the show saluted his or her hometown, announced with full name and population, followed by the cast standing up out of the cornfield and waving their hats while calling out, "Sa-lute!". Often this featured obscure towns with tiny populations, making the state name necessary, but for Rule of Funny purposes the formula always employed the state name even for locales like Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York City.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self", Lestat proposes a vacation to Rome. A shocked Louis asks, "Rome, Italy?"
    Lestat: Would you prefer Rome, Wisconsin?

  • There's an obscure Halloween song called "Redneck Dracula" about a vampire from Transylvania, Kentucky.
  • "A Day in The Life" by The Beatles. John Lennon based it on newspaper stories he read, and, as mentioned below, British newspapers often will list county names after town names. Hence "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire."
  • The rarely-performed "verse" of "White Christmas" includes the line "there's never been such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A." note 
  • The country classic "(We're Not) The Jet Set" by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. The couple speaks of their travels to Rome, Athens, and Paris, before making it clear they mean Rome, Georgia; Athens, Texas; and Paris, Tennessee.
  • "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing" by The Magnetic Fields includes the line "Be we in Paris or in Lansing" - the mention of Lansing makes it ambiguous whether this means Paris, France or Paris, Michigan.
  • "Cities" by Talking Heads humorously refers to Memphis as being "home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks" — Elvis Presley lived in Memphis, Tenessee while "the ancient Greeks" would have been in either Mampsis, Levant (known as Memphis in Ancient Greek) or Memphis, Egypt, both of which were part of the "Greek world".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Subverted in For Better or for Worse when Michael was a student in London, Ontario; since the Patterson family lives in that province, Lynn Johnston deliberately didn't specify it, knowing a lot of readers would think he was studying in England.
  • Get Fuzzy: After Satchel realizes that one of his friends, an Afghan hound, is actually from Texas (and not Afghanistan like he'd assumed), another friend of Satchel's decides to take the moment to clarify that he's actually from Lebanon, Tennessee.
  • One Ziggy strip has Ziggy learning that his "trip to Paris" is actually Paris, Texas.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Pro wrestling announcers are really terrible about this. Regardless of how long they've been in the company, how often they've played the Foreign Wrestling Heel, or how obvious they are about it, the announcer always makes sure to mention they're from "Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada" or "Swansea, Wales, UK." The most frustrating is Ezekiel Jackson, who is announced as being from "Guyana, South America." Weirdly, they never call it "Death Valley, California" when introducing The Undertaker (likely to invoke the Parts Unknown vibe, as it wasn't originally clear if his Death Valley was an actual physical location).

  • For comic effect, this was done circa 1982 on Georgia Tech's college station WREK-FM (91.1) on their Wednesday night oldies show Malt Shop Menu. "The Greatest," a character on the show satirizing Muhammad Ali, sends Dusty Roach (obvious satire on wrestler Dusty Rhodes) to Dublin for St. Patrick's Day. Reporting by phone, Roach says he doesn't see anything Irish—but he does see a sign telling how many miles to Atlanta. Turns out Roach went to Dublin, Georgia by accident.
  • In the 1965 BBC radio adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Three Garridebs", when the American Nathan Garrideb announces he's found the third Garrideb in Birmingham, Holmes somewhat sarcastically asks "Warwickshire or Alabama?"

  • In Hair Claude has a song about "Manchester England England."
  • Make a Wish, a musical set in Gay Paree, had a song titled "Paris, France."
  • Paint Your Wagon:
    Sandy: What's your statistics, pardner?
    Crocker: Edgar Crocker, from London, England.
    Sandy: Well, come along then, Edgar Crocker, from London, England!

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In this Not Always Right story, a foreigner learns that there is in fact a reason why Americans do this—much to his frustration. He just wanted to make fun!
  • Played with subtly in the Homestar Runner flash game Where's An Egg?. Although most of the details in the game suggest that it takes place in Soviet-era Moscow, the manual states that the protagonist is actually part of the Boise police. That might seem odd, since Boise is the capital of Idaho, but it is actually a sly reference to the city of Moscow, Idaho.
  • CinemaSins counts this as a sin. Basically, read the first line of the trope's description, then make a small *ding* sound afterward.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Lion and the Unicorn", Alfred travels to England to help an old friend of his. When he calls Bruce to tell him, Bruce asks "London, England?", and Alfred answers, "There is only one." It is not clear whether he meant "only one London" (which would display odd ignorance on Alfred's part), or "only one London, England", or whether his patriotism for Britain makes him think only one London is worthy of the name.
  • An episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi had Ami excited to meet her pen pal from Paris, who she thinks is handsome. But it turns out he's a short nerd from Paris, Idaho.
  • Parodied in the "Anne Frank movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer" found in Monkey Dust which finds Hitler in Berlin, England; because of course Hitler is English.
  • The Simpsons revels in not doing this when mentioning Springfield. Assuming it were a real American town, it could be any of 28 Springfields in 24 states (Wisconsin has five). Otherwise, it parodies the phenomenon:
    Apu: We're going to see Paris... Hilton, in Paris,... Texas, on our way to Paris,... France.
    • In “The Falcon and the D'ohman”, we're shown an image of Kiev with the captions:
      Caption 1: KIEV, UKRANE
      (Caption deleted, replaced with:)
      Caption 2: KIEV, UKREIGN
      (Caption deleted, replaced with:)
  • Totally Spies! averts this: wherever the girls go, only the name of the city pops up at the bottom of the screen, without a state or country (i.e. you never, ever, see "Beverly Hills, California" in these captions). They still use the Eiffel Tower Effect whenever applicable, though.
  • In one episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, the detectives figure out they need to head to a river that's between Cairo and Memphis. When they arrive at the Nile, they find out they should have gone to the Mississippi (one of them is Memphis, Tennessee, while the other is most likely Cairo, Missouri - while the Mississippi runs by Cairo, Illinois, it's on the same side as Memphis).

    Real Life 
  • As noted above, the name was coined by Bill Bryson. He discussed it in an essay in which he suggested that the stereotypically lower intelligence of Americans compared to people of other nationalities is not down to some sort of racial defect, but a result of Americans being regularly freed from any need to think, ever. This trope, he argued, is one way in which American newspaper-readers are not required to cognitively exert themselves in the same way that British newspaper-readers are.
  • Bowling Green State University (30,028) is located in Bowling Green, Ohio, about 20 miles southwest of Toledo. Bowling Green, Kentucky (67,067) is the largest city by that name, with other smaller Bowling Greens located in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virgina, some of which are unincorporated or townships.
  • Miami University is almost universally known as "Miami of Ohio" to distinguish it from the much more famous University of Miami in Florida.
    • Somewhat ironic given that, as students and alumni of the university are often proud to declare, "there was a Miami in Ohio when Florida still belonged to Spain" (Miami University in Oxford, Ohio—itself an example of this trope—was established in 1809, Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819, the city of Miami was settled in 1825, and the University of Miami was established in 1925). As so many entries on this wiki attest, being the first does not necessarily mean being the most well-known, hence the need for clarification.
    • Yale College, Wrexham, Wales, was founded by a local man, Elihu Yale, who then emigrated to the USA and founded a second Yale College there. Fast-forward for over a century to when Yale College is fairly well established as an American university, and the successor college to Yale Wrexham is rechartering itself as a university. The Welsh college tried to reach back in its history and relaunch itself as Yale University, Wrexham. But as the subsequent court case pointed out with some force, just having the name first was no defence in law. (Yale, USA, could afford far better lawyers). Prifysgol Owain Glydwr/University of Wales, Wrexham had to find a different name, pronto. note 
    • Gregg Easterbrook of loves obscure colleges with goofy names, his two favorites being California of Pennsylvania and Indiana of Pennsylvania.
    • Miami, Oklahoma is pronounced "Mi-am-ah" in the local dialect to avoid confusion with the Florida city. The local Department of Commerce has even set up signs with this pronunciation.
    • It gets worse, in an Only in Florida fashion: Florida not only boasts a city named Miami, it also boasts a city named Miami City. Miami City, Florida, is in Escambia County, the western-most part of Florida's "panhandle", and just about as far away as you can get from Miami in Miami-Dade County and still be in Florida.
    • New York State has a number of towns with the names of other places, such as Rome, Greece, Egypt (a hamlet of Perinton), and even Mexico, leading locals to quip that you can drive around the world in just a few hours.
  • There are several towns throughout the U.S. whose names run along the lines of "[State Name] City", and then, of course, the state name is read. The most famous of these is New York City, New York. There's also Iowa City, Iowa, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Texas City, Texas,note  and Oregon City, Oregon, among others. Reading the state name afterwards in the manner of this trope can seem redundant, of course, unless...
    • You're near Michigan City, Indiana, just 6 miles from the Michigan border (and also located along Lake Michigan). There's also a Nevada City, California (in Nevada County), but it's much further from the Nevada state line. There's also the famous old silver mining town of Virginia City, Nevada (Virginia is on the other side of the country, or roughly the distance between Madrid and Moscow). Or Colorado City, Arizona, home of some Mormon polygamist sects. Then there's Iowa, Louisiana; Virginia, Minnesota; Oregon, Ohio; Delaware, Ohio; Oregon, Illinois; Indiana, Pennsylvania...
      • There's also Nevada, Missouri... kinda. The name of the city is not pronounced the same way as the state (nuh-VAY-duh for the city; nuh-VAH-duh or locally nuh-VAD-uh for the state).
      • Which is not to be confused with Nevada (also pronounced nuh-VAY-duh), Iowa.
    • It's not limited to cities. There's also seven counties in the United States to share the same name as the state they are located in:
      • Arkansas County, Arkansas
      • Hawaii County, Hawaii (Island of Hawaiʻi, aka "The Big Island")
      • Idaho County, Idaho
      • Iowa County, Iowa
      • New York County, New York (better known as the New York City borough of Manhattan)
      • Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (the only one of the seven that contains its state's capital, namely Oklahoma City)
      • Utah County, Utah
    • In the United States, there are several municipalities with directions in the names that are not in the same state as their namesake cities. So you have East St. Louis, Illinois; East Chicago, Indiana; and West New York, New Jersey.
    • Vermont has a city of Rutland, which is the county seat of Rutland County, Vermont; it is surrounded by the separately incorporated town of Rutland, also located in Rutland County.
    • The cities of Charleston, South Carolina, which is the state's largest city, and Charleston, the state capital and largest city of West Virginia.
    • The state of Virginia has the geographic region known as Western Virginia, comprising of the Shenandoah Valley, 26 counties and a number of independent cities in Southwestern Virginia, with some communities located within driving distance of West Virginia.
    • Kansas City is the best-known U.S. example, being a fairly large metropolitan area that straddles the Kansas-Missouri border. There is both a Kansas City, KS and a Kansas City, MO, and they are right next to each other. And the one in Missouri is larger. The name is almost always assumed to refer to that of Missouri, and using this to mislead others gave rise to the Kansas City Shuffle.
      • On the other side of the state, there are both a county and a city named St. Louis. St. Louis (the city) is not in St. Louis County (though they do share a border); the City of St. Louis is a county (administratively speaking). Similarly, within the state of Maryland, the city of Baltimore is a wholly separate entity from the Baltimore County which surrounds it.
      • Possibly the strangest is the proliferation of places named "Wyoming": there are about twenty places named Wyoming in the US, and nearly all of them, including the state, are directly or indirectly named for the same valley in northeastern Pennsylvania.
      • In Iowa, there is both a city and a county named Des Moines. But while both are named for the river, Des Moines (the city) is not in Des Moines County. The city is located in Polk County in central Iowa while Des Moines County is on the Mississippi River, bordering Illinois.
    • The entire state of New Mexico, whose license plates specify "New Mexico, USA" to inform people that the state is indeed part of the United States. Apparently, this is a legitimate problem, with at least one recorded instance of a government official asking for a "New Mexico passport" when a citizen of the state applied for a marriage license. This is not helped by the fact that New Mexico used to be part of Mexico circa 1821 to 1848 (1821 to 1853 for the Gadsden Purchase area).
  • This is not a uniquely American phenomenon:
    • In Japan there are several prefectures that share their names with their capital cities. Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuoka (the last of which is a clue to the location of the Excel♡Saga anime) to name some. Tokyo used to be like this as well before they merged the Tokyo (city) government with the Tokyo (prefecture) government to form the modern Tokyo Metropolis.
      • Although in Japanese, it's easy to distinguish because the names are given endings to denote location. Cities are [Name]-shi and prefectures are [Name]-ken. Important locations such as Tokyo and Kyoto actually get their own unique suffixes, making it even harder to confuse the areas.
    • In China, over 200 cities share a name with the prefecture they belong to. What's worse is that they (as the prefecture capital) divide themselves into districts (each district is on the same level as the counties), and all-city institutions are combined with prefecture governments—so the prefecture is called "prefecture-level city" despite it being 10-1000 times larger than urban area of the central city, creating confusion even among locals.
      • Also, some cities are adjacent to a county of the same name, e.g. (urban) Handan City is surrounded by Handan County, Handan City (prefecture) (as the urban proper reaches the Handan County, it was ultimately dissolved and absorbed into city districts).
      • Chongqing Municipality (a combination of four former prefectures) is sometimes mistaken for being the world's largest city containing 29 million people (the urban Chongqing is large and important, but it has only about 8 million people).
      • When Chaohu prefecture dissolved (the peripheral counties were divided between neighboring prefectures, and urban Chaohu was transferred to Hefei prefecture's control), some foreign newspapers claimed that a city as large as Los Angeles disappeared from the map (there are 4 million people in the prefecture, but the urban area of Chaohu has a population of 800,000—a "small" city by Chinese standards).
      • This phenomenon is so widespread that the majority of China's population is affected by it (pink, purple, and green areas are where this trope applies).
      • What's really odd is that even Taipei and Kaohsiung were once considered "prefecture-level cities" by the mainland Chinese mappers, despite the fact that the PRC never controlled them. As of 2020, mainland Chinese maps and media have stopped being archaic: All direct-governed municipalities is deemed prefecture-level cities, including New Taipei (being no longer referred to as Taipei County). The 3 provincial-governed cities are still deemed county-level cities despite prefecture-level cities are also called provincial-governed cities in mainland (they were elevated specially, so deeming them on par with mainland prefecture-level cities is unrealistic). Only Taoyuan (which is elevated last) is occasionally still referred to as a county in mainland media.
      • The mainland maps of Taiwan were used to show sovereignty rather than usefulness, hence depictions of administrative divisions of Taiwan once stayed as if 1949 (refusing to acknowledge any changes). However as more and more people visit and even live across the Strait depicting reality becomes more beneficial, hence the disappearance of "Taipei County" before 2020. The State Council of PRC were in fact more far-sighted than mappers having (at least for recent decades) never listed any official shadow subdivisions beyond "Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China", enabling anyone saying "New Taipei" with no political connotations.
    • In Taiwan, there's also New Taipei City, formerly known as Taipei County—not to be confused with the capital of the Republic of China, Taipei, one of two enclaves of New Taipei (New Taipei City is called "Xinbeishi" in Chinese without "Tai", "beishi" itself is already a common abbreviation for Taipei City inside Taiwan, but the city declared itself "New Taipei" in English for better understanding of its nature by foreigners).
    • There's also Québec City, Québec.
      • Only to English speakers. Locals simply call it Québec, which is distinguished from the province by the lack of a definite article. Also, confusion is easily avoided with the proper pronoun—"Au Québec" (In Québec) for the province, "À Québec" (At Québec) for the city.
  • Someone in Vancouver, Washington has printed T-shirts reading "Vancouver (not B.C.), Washington (not D.C.), Clark County (not Nevada), next to Portland, Oregon (not Maine)".
    • Vancouver, Washington is just 300 miles from the much larger Vancouver, BC, so it's not uncommon to hear residents of the Pacific Northwest refer to the American town as Vancouver, USA. (Ironically, it was originally a British fort.)
    • Speaking of Washington, do you mean the state on the West Coast or the nation's capital in the District of Columbia on the East Coast? For further confusion, before it was made a state, Washington was known as Columbia Territory. Of course, locals always call Washington, DC simply "DC" or "The District" so as not to confuse anyone. If you say "Washington" to a Washingtonian, they're going to assume you're talking about the state. And if you say "Washington" and you ARE referring to DC, then they're going to laugh at you for being a stupid tourist.
      • Washingtonians often refer to DC as "the other Washington." Also, very rarely do people from the Pacific Northwest refer to the state as Washington State. It's always just plain old Washington.
      • The state of Washington was going to be called Columbia because of the old Columbia territory (the reason why the Canadian piece is called British Columbia). They named it Washington to avoid confusion with DC. You can guess how that turned out in the long run.note 
  • When George W. Bush met Charlotte Church, he allegedly asked her what state Wales is in. There's a Wales in Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin, but you'd think the accent would be a tip off.
  • There was a story about an elderly Dutch man and his grandson who somehow ended up on a flight to Sydney... Nova Scotia, instead of the more well-known, oft-visited Sydney, Australia. For a long time, the one in Nova Scotia was commonly identified as "Sydney, C.B.," even long after Cape Breton's annexation to Nova Scotia, since "Sydney, N.S." could too easily be mistaken for "Sydney, N.S.W." (New South Wales).
    • Then there's the deliberate version during the 1990s in which a Winnipeg radio station had a contest, the prize being a trip to Miami. This being the middle of a frigid Manitoba winter, there was a massive response. The winners were told to show up at the radio station to board a bus, which they presumably thought would take them to the airport. However, it took them to the small community of Miami, Manitoba. They were not amused.
  • There are several cities named Denver. When you hear 'Denver', typically, you think Denver, Colorado. Not to be confused with Denver, Iowa or Denver, Indiana.
  • Before computerization, it was not at all uncommon for luggage, and sometimes passengers, headed for Melbourne, Florida to wind up in Melbourne, Australia. It still happens, but nowhere near as often.
    • Also happened with Burlington, Vermont, and the smaller Burlington, Iowa.
  • There are three Melbournes in England: one in Derbyshire, one in Yorkshire, and one in Cambridgeshire, although the last one is spelled "Melbourn".
    • There are three Bangors, two in Wales and one in Northern Ireland. The easterly Welsh Bangor is officially called Bangor-on-Dee to distinguish itself from the one near Caernarfon. But Scotland also has a River Dee. Mail deliveries can get confusing.
  • The generally quiet town of Stockport has a Dodge Hill, which directly named a rather more famous and lawless Dodge Hill in the USA. Stockport people note  find this amusing.
  • There is a town by the name of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada. It's right on the border with...Sault-Sainte-Marie, Michigan, USA.
    • Likewise Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, USA.
    • There is a small handful of towns named Jerusalem in the United States which aren't as prominent as Jerusalem, Occupied Territories (de facto Israel): in Maryland (unincorporated), New York, Ohio (village), and Rhode Island (unincorporated village).
    • Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan, needs a slash—it's not two cities, but a single municipal entity with the provincial border straight down its middle, founded before either province.
    • There's also Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas. Again, they border each other.
    • Niagara Falls, Ontario is quite well-known; not as well known is Niagara Falls, New York, immediately adjacent to it.
  • The Netherlands' largest city and capital is Amsterdam. There are two Amsterdams in New York named after the Dutch capital: Amsterdam (the city), which is surrounded by the town of Amsterdam on three sides in Montgomery.
  • Most places in Vermont that appear to be named after places in England are in fact named after places in Connecticut that were named after places in England.
  • Until late 2007, The Other Wiki was headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. There have apparently been cases of stuff intended for them ending up in St. Petersburg, Russia.
    • The Other Wiki once had a talk page battle over which city above its St. Petersburg article should refer to whether it should be a disambiguation page.
  • Not only can London, England be confused with London, Ontario, but Ontario, Canada can be confused with Ontario, California—perhaps less surprisingly, given that Ontario, California is a small, relatively insignificant city which happens to have LA/Ontario International, a large, significant airport. It doesn't help that both Canada and California can be abbreviated "CA".
  • There are a lot of cities named Warsaw—mostly in the US, but there are some in Canada—named after the capital of Poland. Being mostly settled by Polish immigrants might have had something to do with it.
  • Ontario (the province) has, in addition to London, communities named Cambridge, Windsor, Southampton, Ayr, Paris, Elmira, Athens, Delhi (though they pronounce that one "DELL-high"), and probably many more. They used to have a Berlin, but that was changed to Kitchener in 1916 for some reason.
  • There's a Washington, Virginia not far west from the more-well-known Washington, DC. Signs that lead there say "Washington, Va.". The denizens there call it "Little Washington".
    • Justified as according to That Other Wiki, G.W. himself surveyed the area, and the town was incorporated before his death. Also, it's the oldest town of Washington in the USA.
      • Likewise there is the town of Washington, North Carolina. It is also referred to as Little Washington.
      • And, of course, they're all named after George Washington, a descendant of William de Wessyngton of the town of Washington just outside Sunderland, England. (Not Washington, West Sussex.)
  • There's half a dozen Californias in England, and there used to be an annual Washington to California cycle race.
    • There are also lots of places in England called Hollywood.
  • The tiny island of Kiritimati has a London, a Paris, and a Poland.
  • Maine has a lot of cities named after countries, which leads to the famous photograph of a rather surreal road sign.
  • Hamilton, Ontario and Hamilton, New Zealand often have similar cultural events, causing Google confusion.
  • Speaking of New Zealand, until 1871 there were two Palmerstons—one in the South Island between Oamaru and Dunedin and one in the North Island on the Manawatu River. The one in the North Island was renamed "Palmerston North" by the Post Office, despite being the larger of the two (Palmerston "South" has a population of 1500, while Palmerston North has a population of 81,000).
    • Likewise, there were two Havelocks, one in Marlborough in the South Island and one just outside Hastings in the North Island. The latter was renamed Havelock North, despite also being larger.
    • There were also two Oxfords, one northwest of Christchurch in the South Island and one southeast of Hamilton in the North Island. The North Island town was renamed Oxford North before in 1895 adopting its Māori name, Tirau. A bit of a loss when you consider 30 km to the west of Tirau there is a town called Cambridge.
    • There are also numerous Māori place names that are doubled up or very similar. For example, there is Waitangi, Bay of Islands and Waitangi, Chatham Islands. Just to add to the confusion, Waitangi in the South Island Māori dialect is "Waitaki", which is the name of a major South Island river.
    • Back in the days when telephone exchanges had names rather than area codes (and you needed an operator to make a long distance call), the exchange for Kawakawa Bay was renamed "Ruakawakawa" to distinguish it from the (larger, but still small) town Kawakawa. ("Rua" = "two" in Maori.)
  • This sort of naming is extremely common in Atlantic Canada. In addition to all the repeats of Scottish, Irish, or English place names, you can get a Lower ____, ____, Middle ____, Upper Middle ____, North ____, and so on, generally quite close together along the course of a river. In Nova Scotia, there's a Lower, Middle, and Upper Sackville. Sackville is a couple hours of driving from New Brunswick across a big huge marsh. North Sydney and Sydney are right next to each other, and there is no Burlington in Nova Scotia (you've got to go to Ontario to find it), although you will find both Lower and Upper Burlington on a sufficiently detailed map of the province.
  • In Canada, Saint John, New Brunswick is the province's third-largest city, while Saint John's (with an apostophe and an "S") is the capital and largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador province.
  • When Burma-Shave put up joke signs promising "Free! Free! A trip to Mars/For 900/Empty jars!" they weren't actually expecting someone to take them up on it. When store owner Arliss French shipped in 900 jars he'd convinced customers to donate, the company gave him and his wife a vacation in Moers (pronounced "Mars"), Germany.
    • Pronounced "Mars" by Americans who don't know any better, maybe, but not by its inhabitants or German-speakers in general. The correct pronunciation would be closer to "Murrs".
  • In Russia and the former Soviet Union, there are several cities that have nearly identical names. A few of these have changed since the Cold War ended due to Please Select New City Name.
    • Novgorod (sometimes called "Velikiy (Great) Novgorod") and Nizhny Novgorod ("Lower Novgorod").
    • Rostov Velikiy ("Great Rostov") and Rostov-na-Donu ("Rostov-on-the-Don").
    • Leningrad, Russia (Saint Petersburg) and Leningrad, Tajikistan.
    • Moskva (Moscow), Russia and Moskva, Tajikistan.
  • There is a town in Pennsylvania with the extremely confusing name of London Britain (note the lack of a comma).
  • Austria. For a country smaller than Maine, they sure have a lot of identical names, which they distinguish by adding "at XXX" or "in YYY".
    • Hadersdorf im Kamptal/Hadersdorf-Weidlingau; Neusiedl am See/Neusiedl an der Zaya/Neusiedl bei Güssing.
    • And lots and lots of places named St. [name of the saint the local church is dedicated to].
    • There is also both a district and a city named Salzburg, the latter being the capital of the former.
    • Anyone from Austria will tell you, if you write them a letter, you have to list the country as "Austria/Europe" (it even says that on people's business cards), otherwise your mail may very well end up in Australia. Austrian gift shops have embraced this by making shirts that say "No Kangaroos in Austria" available. note 
    • In addition, writing "Wien, Österreich" on the letter will prevent a redirection to Venice (Venedig/Venezia), Italy instead of Vienna, Austria.
  • Averted with Cambridge, Massachusetts, or at least their university. Deciding that Cambridge University (or variations thereupon) may get confusing, they called it "Harvard" instead.
  • Happens with many Latin American and Spanish cities, for obvious reasons:
    • There's a Guadalajara in Mexico, another in Spain, and another in Colombia (but it's named "Buga" for the locals).
  • West, Texas is commonly referred to by locals and travelers passing through as West-Comma-Texas to differentiate it from the geographic region of West Texas. Incidentally, West is in Central Texas (or North Texas—there's some overlap).
    • And on that note, North Texas (centered on the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex) is nowhere near the geographic northernmost part of the state (more commonly known as the Panhandle).
  • Before it was annexed by the city of Pittsburgh in the latter half of the 19th century, the neighborhoods south of the Monongahela River—location of most of the steel mills that made the region notorious—were a separate city called Birmingham, Pennsylvania. At this time, the city of Birmingham, Alabama was the largest steel center in the South. Combined with their namesake city in England, there were three cities named Birmingham that were leading the English-speaking world in steel production.
  • When the athlete from Georgia died during the Winter Olympics, they had to specify that they meant Georgia the country, not the American state.
  • Aside from the famous Bethlehem (city of David, alleged birthplace of Jesus Christ), which is in occupied Palestinian territory, there is an Israeli town which is called "the Galilean Bethlehem" (Beit Lehem HaGlilit) for clarity. Which isn't even counting other countries—there are 13 in the United States alone, including two in North Carolina (though the only one of any significance is in Pennsylvania).
  • In British Newspapers, it's not uncommon to see the name of a town in England followed by the county (e.g., Wigan, Lancashire). It seems that this is not done so that the town is not confused with another (although there are numerous villages in England with the same name) but instead to give the reader a general idea of the town's location. However, it can lead to a lot of confusion, for example in the case of Wigan, Lancashire. Lancashire is the traditional county Wigan is located in—but it is currently in the county of Greater Manchester. Whether the traditional county or the current county is used is decided upon by some unknown criterianote  and can be confusing.
    • Some newspapers, when referring to a village the reader is most likely unfamiliar with, write "[village] near [nearest larger town]" (e.g., Clenchwarton near Kings Lynn).
  • It is customary in Chinese history books to give the name of the corresponding modern county when mentioning the site of an ancient city or battle. Many students have wryly observed that, considering that there are 2862 counties in the modern PRC, it's not all that helpful.
  • In British media, the prefix "County" indicates to viewers/readers unfamiliar with Irish geography that the location in question is in Ireland or Northern Ireland. Irish naming conventions make liberal use of this trope to distinguish counties from identically-named towns and cities within them (the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick all sharing names with their respective counties). In contrast, the only traditional English county which conforms to this convention is County Durham—again, to distinguish it from the city of Durham.
    • The city of Armagh in Northern Ireland is also the county town of County Armagh. Same goes for Antrim in County Antrim and Londonderry in County Londonderry. Averted with Counties Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone, which don't share their names with towns.
    • Dromore, County Down is a town close to Belfast. Dromore, County Tyrone is a village close to Omagh.
  • Most Catholic countries seem to have the problem of places named after the saint the local church is dedicated to. There are not that many saints, so the entire German-speaking area, for example, is full of "St. Johann"s and "St. Michael"s. It doesn't help much that a lot of saints share the same names—there are eight different saints named Mary, for example.
    • Santiago (Spanish name for St. James) would qualify for this. In Latin America and Spain there's a plethora of cities with the name including but not limited to Santiago de Cuba, Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Santiago del Estero (Argentina), and Santiago, capital of Chile.
  • Oakland, California and Auckland, New Zealand. While distinguishable in writing, a Californian pronounces "Oakland" the same way a New Zealander pronounces "Auckland". Several Americans have ended up on the wrong side of the Pacific from this confusion, including Stephanie and Michelle Tanner.
  • Los Angeles invokes this when it says that .la is the first top-level domain ever given to a city. It isn't—.la is the Country-Code top-level domain for Laos.
    • There is an anecdote about a trucker taking a shipment to LA—Los Angeles, California—that was actually intended to go to Louisiana (postal abbreviation LA).
    • There is in Chile a small city named Los Ángeles. Take That!. It's situated at the Bio-Bio Region, which capital and biggest settlement is Concepción (the second-biggest city in the nation).
  • In a particularly unpleasant example of even the Brits finding this trope useful, this BBC article about a US military helicopter crash near Norfolk, Virginia was written the day after the BBC reported on a US military helicopter crash in Norfolk, England.
  • In Australia, much the same system is used for much the same reason, although place names tend to be derived primarily from British sources, with a scattering of native names and assorted other European names (mostly either those of early explorers of Australia or the sites of battles that British Empire troops fought in). While the situation is not nearly as complicated as that of the US (fewer states generally meaning fewer duplications), there are still, for example, places named "Richmond" in five of Australia's six states.note .
    • One example that has sprung up in relevance recently is Maryborough. The one in Queensland is known for being one of the bigger non-capitals, while the one in Victoria is known for being the hometown of Matthew Dellavedova.
  • "Fairfield" is a locality name for dozens of towns and regions in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand. There are multiple examples of towns who share the name in the same state, for example in Ohio there are two Fairfield Townships that have to be disambiguated by their County. One of them is in Cumberland County, which also happens to be a name occasionally used for the region where Fairfield in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia is located. There are also three areas named Fairfield in New Jersey, one in the north, one in the middle and one in the south.
  • In Europe you will frequently find several similarly named places in close vicinity, for instance in southern Belgium there is Braine-le-Comte in Hainault, which is quite close to Braine-l'Alleud and Braine-le-Château in Brabant. If you take a train from Cologne central station to Essen, you will be passing through the town formerly known as Mülheim am Rhein (Mülheim on the Rhine, now absorbed into Cologne as Köln-Mülheim) and the one called Mülheim an der Ruhr (Mülheim on the Ruhr, between Duisburg and Essen).
  • There are over 20 cities and towns called Newtown in the UK, over 16 in Ireland, and about 50 towns and boroughs called Neustadt in Germany. Other places with names of the same meaning include Novgorod in Russia and Naples in Italy, which makes this almost Older Than Dirt.
  • When you say "Halle" in Germany, you usually mean Halle an der Saale (often abbreviated "Halle/Saale" or "Halle a. d. S.", Halle on the Saale) in Sachsen-Anhalt. However if you mention "Halle" in the context of tennis, you usually mean Halle in Westfalen ("Halle i. W.", Halle in Westphalia) in North Rhine-Westphalia, venue of the most important grass-court tennis tournament in Germany.
  • There are two towns called Oldendorf, which were renamed Hessisch Oldendorf and Preußisch Oldendorf ("Hessian and Prussian Old-Village") in 1905 to end the confusion. Ironically they both were Prussian at the time, one belonging to the province of Hesse-Nassau, the other to that of Westphalia.
  • A map of the battles of the Seven Years' War in the Musée de l'Armée in Paris seriously misplaced the French victory at Bergen (1759) from its actual location at Bergen near Frankfurtnote  (renamed Bergen-Enkheim in 1936 and now part of Frankfurt) in southern Hesse to Bergen near Celle (site of the infamous concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen) in northern Lower Saxony.
  • England has a city called Newcastle and a town also called Newcastle - more precisely speaking, the city is Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while the town is Newcastle-under-Lyme. "Newcastle" on its own is generally taken to be the city, unless perhaps you're near the market town.
  • There are also two locations called Kingston in England - Kingston-upon-Thames is a town/suburb/district of London (, England), while Kingston-upon-Hull is a city further north. You might think that "Kingston" without a qualifier would refer to the city... but actually tends to refer to the part of London. The city is usually just called Hull.
    • There's actually a third Kingston called "Kingston near Lewes", but it's just a small village on the South Downs with a population of around 800, so is rarely the one in question.
  • Even just within England, referring to "London" can lead to some terminological confusion... it can depend whether you mean the actual City of London (also called "the Square Mile" or simply "The City"), the county of (Greater) London, or the metropolis/metropolitan area of London (which comprises mainly the county as well as some parts of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire that border it). And trying to specify by referring to the city of London doesn't really help as much as you might think either, as you may be referring to "the city of London", or "The City of London"...
  • The [neighborhood],[borough] construct (e.g. Red Hook, Brooklyn or Jamaica, Queens) is very commonly used in New York City, since the city has way too many neighborhoods for the average person to be expected to know the locations of them all.
  • There is a state in Mexico called Mexico. The state is called Estado de Mexico and the country is officially called Estados Unidos Mexicanos.
  • Averted with Associated Press style, which calls for datelines in well-known cities to stand alone. Readers would a assume that "London" refers to the city in England, and not London, Ontario, Canada. A lot of this depends on the area a paper serves. Readers of the The New York Times would assume that Albany refers to the capital of New York State while readers of the San Francisco Chronicle would likely assume that the story took place in the suburb next to Berkeley, California.
  • Swedish examples:
    • The small town of Lidköping is occasionally referred to as "Lidköping by lake Vänern" to distinguish it from the much larger city of Linköping. Since both places are occasionally misspelt as "Lindköping", the distinction doesn't always help.
    • This wasn't really a problem for the two municipalities of Habo and Håbo until the internet showed up. URLs can't handle umlauts, leading to no small amount of confusion over which website belongs to which municipality.
  • The York University in Toronto (Ontario) should not be confused with the University of York in Yorkshire, England.
  • Speaking of Toronto, not only is there the famous one in Ontario, but there's a Toronto in Ohio and another in New South Wales.
  • There are two regions in Europe called Galicia: one in northwestern Spain and one straddling the border of Poland and Ukraine (roughly comprising the southernmost region of the former and the westernmost of the latter). What's weirder is that this might not be a coincidence; both regions were inhabited in ancient times by Celtic-speaking peoples, and their names may come from the same root as "Gaul" and "Galatia" (also Celtic-speaking lands in ancient timesnote ), even though nobody from those regions speaks a Celtic language today (unless they took a course in Welsh or something for some reason).note 
  • Because of the way certain American states were divided into townships, with part or all of a township allowed to incorporate itself into a city, it's not uncommon for a city and a township next to each other to have the same name, differentiated by one being officially called "City of X" and the other being "X Township". Examples include the City of Amherst and Amherst Township in Ohio, or the City of Northville and the Charter Township of Northville in Michigan.
  • Just about everyone knows about the Iberian Peninsula that contains Spain and Portugal, which is often shortened to Iberia. However, there was also a nation in The Caucasus frequently known as the Kingdom of Iberia.
  • Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast has a settlement called New York. There are multiple theories about how it got the name, but there was understandably a lot of confusion when the town got hit by a Russian missile in 2023.


Video Example(s):


Las Vegas, New Mexico?

Teddy and Ivy discover Mary Lou and Harry are taking them to Las Vegas NEW MEXICO, not Nevada.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LondonEnglandSyndrome

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