Recently I was reminded of why I love the south. I was watching a band in South Carolina and met a young man with a cast on his leg. I, of course like most people do in this situation, asked him how he broke his leg. He began to tell his story. "I was down in southern South Carolina...right next to the Florida"...no that is not a typo, "THE FLORIDA" I laughed to so hard I fell down...on the 'floor'ida. Not only is this geographically incorrect since South Carolina does not border Florida, Georgia does, it is a grammatically impossible. Do proper nouns need definite articles if you are a redneck? My rule of thumb from the excruciating 13 years of private catholic schools with nuns jamming grammar down my throat with a ruler is:
DO NOT use an article with countries, states, or counties, etc except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States"
Therefore one would say:
"I traveled to Michigan."
"Georgia is lovely this time of year."
"The United States is a country north of Mexico, full of people who have disdain for immigrants who can't speak English, yet they themselves have trouble forming coherent sentences."
Ooops, run on sentence.