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Are directions capitalized
February 24, 2019 Wedding Anniversary Wishes 2 comments

Learn proper capitalization with these simple rules. Capitalization rule #4. Capitalize directions only when they refer to specific regions. For example.

Capital Letters with North, East, South, and West (Grammar Lesson)

The Quick Answer
Do not use a capital letter for north, south, east, or west (i.e., the points of the compass) unless the word forms part of a name. For example:
  • Go north then west.
  • I live in West Ham.

Capital Letters with North, East, South, and West

The directions north, east, south, and west should not be given capital letters unless they form part of a name like West Ham, West Sussex, and South Africa.

When used in a name (e.g., North Pole), the word North, East, South, or West is part of a proper noun, and all proper nouns are written with capital letters.

When used to convey a direction (e.g., head north for a mile), the word North, East, South, or West is a common noun, and common nouns are written with lowercase letters.

Examples with North, East, South, and West

Below are some example sentences that include the points of the compass.

The North, The East, The South, and The West

The geographical areas The North, The East, The South, and The West are considered proper nouns. They should be written with capital letters. For example:
  • I live in The North.
  • (There is a lot of leniency on whether to capitalize The. Few would argue that the region is called The North as opposed to North, but, for many, the capital T looks too unwieldy.)

See Also

Capital letters in advertisementsUsing capital letters with proper and common nounsCapital letters with the four seasonsCapital letters with moons, stars and planetsCapital letters start sentencesWhat is title case?Test on using capital letters

how do i capitalize words He capitalized words that feel important to him (“Day One” and “Mars”). Explanation: Directions are lowercase.


are directions capitalized

How are you?

Thank you for all your responses to my last post. I really enjoyed reading about your weekend activities - swimming, walking on the beach, picnicking by the Nile, reading the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night's Dream, even watching awful movies... ;)

Anyway, last week I set a piece of homework. To capitalise the following sentence:

my uncle is a professor of chinese at the university of edinburgh. students call him professor jones but I call him uncle steven. he spent a long time in the east studying buddhism.

Well here is the correct answer:

My uncle is a professor of Chinese at The University of Edinburgh. Students call him Professor Jones but I call him Uncle Steven. He spent a long time in the East studying Buddhism.

Some of you were close but no one was completely correct! So which parts of this sentence are worth learning form? I want to pick out six points:

My uncle (1) is a professor (2) of Chinese (3) at The University of Edinburgh (4). Students call him Professor Jones but I call him Uncle Steven. He spent a long time in the East (5) studying Buddhism (6).

1) uncle or Uncle? Normally uncle wouldn't have a capital letter, unless it comes right before a person's name, like 'Uncle Steven' in the next sentence.

2) This is the same for professional job titles. As a noun professor doesn't need a capital letter, but when it is someone's title, like 'Professor Jones' or 'Dr Doolittle' it takes a capital letter.

3) 'Chinese' here indicates the language. Languages are capitalised, as are nationalities and of course countries.

4) 'The University of Edinburgh' is the official name of the institution. As the word 'the' is part of the official title, it also needs a capital letter. You can check this by doing a quick online search if you're not sure.

5) Compass directions like north, south east and west only take capital letters when they are part of a name established by popular usage to mean a certain region, for example: the Pacific Northwest, the South Pacific, or the East or West when talking about those areas in cultural terms.

6) Buddhism and other religions take capital letters.

So - by combining this post and the last one I hope you have some of the basic rules for capitalising in English. There are others - sorry - as we know English is a complicated language and many native speakers sometimes make mistakes with this kind of thing! But these should help you to start with.

Right, enough of capital letters. Let's turn to Vito's blog on Venice.

Beautiful Venice... I have to say again that your pictures are amazing! I was lucky enough to go to Venice a few years ago myself and it took my breath away. You have brought back some lovely memories for me. In fact, your blog was very practical with lots of advice for travellers about tickets, fares and transport in the city! What was your favourite part?


Bearing in mind the lesson on capitalisation above, how would you modify this sentence?

"If you need a rest or if you want to see some really interesting Museums, Churches, Islands like Burano - Murano and Torcello, you can't miss this beautiful city..."


Vito - You finished your blog by talking about the unforgettable restaurants in Venice. So would you like to write a blog about Italian food. Pizza, pasta and risotto are all delicious and world-famous, but perhaps you could introduce some more regional specialities that we might not know about?

And everyone else - what is your opinion of Italian food? Is it popular in your country? What is your favourite and why?

Me - I have to say I love it - a freshly-made thin-crust pizza with moist tomato-based topping with different cheeses and ham is a real treat for me. Mmmm.

Ah good, it's time for lunch. Perfect timing.

See you soon!


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Capitalization of States

are directions capitalized

You should only capitalize directions, such as north, south, east, and west, when you are referring to the direction as a proper noun, such as “in the South” or “up North.” If you are merely referring to a direction, such as “go south on I-90,” then you should keep the direction lowercase.

Some common examples of when you should capitalize the direction include:

  • down South
  • the Deep South
  • out West

and when you should lowercase the direction:

  • in the south of France
  • go north on I-90 and then east

What about capitalizing northern, southern, eastern, western?

The same rules apply to capitalizing southern as capitalizing directions with a -ern at the end. If you are referring to a group of proper nouns such as “the Southern States.” However, if you’re referring to a general location, such as “the southern winds” then southern should be lowercase.

What about capitalizing Northerner, Southerner, Easterner, Westerner?

You should always capitalize these words since it refers to a region (a proper noun) where a group of people are from.

To know what other words you should capitalize, try our free title capitalization tool.


At first glance, the rules of English capitalization seem simple. You probably know you should capitalize proper nouns and the first word of every sentence.


are directions capitalized

When proofreading or editing documents, we often find that writers are confused about when to capitalize these terms. Here are some rules to follow.

Capitalize north, south, east, west, and derivative words when they designate definite regions or are an integral part of a proper name.

  • in the North
  • down South
  • the West Coast
  • the Eastern Seaboard
  • the Deep South

Do not capitalize these words when they merely indicate direction or general location.

  • Many waterskiers have relocated from the Northeast to the South.
  • BUT: We maintain a slalom course in the south of France.
  • OR: Go north on I-95 and then west on Route 110.

Capitalize such words as Northerner, Southerner, and Midwesterner.

Capitalize such words as northern, southern, eastern, and western when they refer to the people in a region or to their political, social, or cultural activities. Do not capitalize these words when they merely indicate general location or refer to the geography or climate of the region.

  • Eastern bankers, but the eastern half of Colorado
  • Southern hospitality, but southern temperatures
  • Western civilization, but westerly winds
  • the Northern vote, but a northern winter
  • The Northern states did not vote as they were expected. (Political activities.)
  • The drought has ended in the northern states. (Climate.)
  • My sales territory takes in most of the southeastern states. (General location.)
  • She was Southeastern Champion twice in a row.

NOTE: When terms like western region and southern district are used to name organizational units within a company, capitalize them.

  • The Western Region (referring to a part of the national sales staff) reports that sales are 12 percent over budget for the first six months.

When words like northern, southern, eastern, and western precede a place name, they are not ordinarily capitalized, because they merely indicate general location within a region. However, when these words are actually part of the place name, they must be capitalized.

  • northern New Jersey, western Massachusetts
  • Northern Ireland, Western Australia

NOTE: Within certain regions it is not uncommon for many who live there to capitalize the adjective because of the special importance they attach to the regional designation. Thus people who live in southern California may prefer to write Southern California.

Source: The Gregg Reference Manual


WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Do You Capitalize The South?

There are so many rules about when to capitalize or lowercase these words that I find myself Directions (compass points) are not capitalized.

are directions capitalized
Written by Samuzahn
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