Don’t capitalize surname of directions prefer north, south, east, and also west when supplied to describe direction and also location, yet do capitalize these words once they show up in the names of places and regions.

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ExamplesThe mines are situated in the western component of the plateau.Each morning, the sunlight rises in the east.
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Infographic: space compass points prefer north, south, east, and west capitalized?

Table of contents

Direction and also location

Don’t capitalize words like north, south, east, and also west when supplied to show a direction. Additionally lowercase derivative words like northern, northerly, and also eastbound as soon as referring to a direction.


ExamplesFarley want to travel west however boarded a train that was eastbound.The storm came under upon united state from the east.We crossed the border right into Mexico and drove south.The climate is dry in southerly Nigeria.The tribe traveled eastward come escape the famine.
ExamplesTumkin traveled by bus to the phibìc of Slovakia.The persimmon thrives in southern climes.Tremors to be felt in the northern region of the country.Our eastern boundaries have been left unguarded.The researchers measured lava flows located to the northeast that Tharsis Tholus.We hid between the tree in the southwest edge of the park.

Names the regions

Capitalize directions and compass points (like north, east, northeast, eastern) as soon as they take place in names of regions.


ExamplesMaya newly published a coffee-table book on the lighthouses that the Northeast.The film has been accused the pandering to the West, providing to viewers an exotic, romanticized variation of the East.I am reading a publication written in 1893 around the deities and also demons that the far East.The Eastern plains of Colorado receive little rainfall through the year.The West coast is culturally quite different from the east Coast.North America and South America space continents in the west Hemisphere.

Eastern and Western Europe

The native eastern and also western offered with Europe are lowercased when used to median location however capitalized as soon as they describe a specific an ar based on the political departments of Europe.


Serbia is a beautiful nation in eastern Europe.Anita has actually published a document on the increase of populism in western Europe.

Names the hemispheres

Names that hemispheres may be capitalized or lowercased, back capitalizing is an ext common, specifically in scholastic writing. The Chicago manual of Style argues capitalizing, if Merriam-Webster, in its dictionary entries, mirrors the surname of hemispheres lowercased, through the capitalized forms listed as variants.


ExamplesWind systems twist clockwise in the southerly Hemisphere and also counter-clockwise in the north Hemisphere.
Wind solution twist clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere.A map centered on the east Hemisphere instead of the west Hemisphere will have actually the Indian ocean at its center.
A map centered on the east hemisphere instead of the west hemisphere will have the Indian ocean at its center.

Capitalization of such words is a issue of format rather 보다 grammar. Choose a style, and also follow it repetitively throughout your document.

Names of places

Capitalize direction words prefer north, northern, and also south when they kind part that the surname of a place. (Names of places are ideal nouns and also are therefore capitalized.)


ExamplesMaya has actually moved to north Ireland.She to be born in south Africa in 1993.From Indonesia, us went by bus to east Timor.Nesbit prospered up in what to be then West Germany.

Remember not to capitalize words such together north and northern when using them merely to show location or direction.


ExamplesIt can acquire cold in the northern part of the province, especially when northerly winds lug snow in winter.Tea is grown in the eastern region of the country.I wish ns were one Arctic tern, moving south for the winter.He vacationed last summer top top Scotland’s west coast.

North and South Poles

North Pole and South Pole, as names of places, are capitalized, however the terms northern lights and also southern lights (for the aurora borealis) are generally lowercased.


ExamplesLast year, Tumkin checked out the north Pole to watch the north lights.The southern Pole marks the southernmost allude of the Earth.

Other appropriate nouns

Capitalize surname of directions when they are part of a appropriate noun, prefer the surname of a company, publication, or university.


ExamplesFor sailors, the north Star point out the means due north.Maya’s poem was simply published in The southern Review.Tumkin i graduated in 1998 native the college of West Nusquam.

Cultural references: East and West

Capitalize “East” and “West” (or “Eastern world” and “Western world”) when offered to describe the peoples and also cultures that the world.


ExamplesMozart is among the greatest composers of western music.My friend is a physician of eastern medicine.Her recipes room a wonderful fusion of East and West.In college, ns took a food on east philosophy.
ExamplesOases are discovered in the western an ar of the desert.We should grow yams in the eastern ar of the field.In summer, the wind blows native west come east.We love holidaying in the eastern Mediterranean.She is a westerner traveling v Asia.

The American West and also South

References come the American West and the American south (when introduce to the regions and also cultures that the joined States) are generally capitalized.


ExamplesFarley is dressed choose a cowboy straight out of a Western.Maya has written a book of stories and songs the the West.On Sundays, they cook a classic Southern dinner.His book presents a realistic portrait the the south as it remained in the 1860s.

Time zones

Names that time zones and also time standards might either be capitalized or lowercased, depending upon the style you follow. Any kind of proper noun or proper adjectives (e.g., Greenwich, Philippine, European) are, the course, capitalized.


ExamplesCoordinated universal Time or coordinated universal timeEastern Time or eastern timeEastern typical Time or eastern conventional timeCentral Daylight Time or main daylight timeGreenwich mean Time or Greenwich mean timePhilippine traditional Time or Philippine traditional timeCentral european Summer Time or main European summer time

In the shortened type of a conventional time, one of two people capitalize or lowercase the region, yet don’t capitalize words time.


Style guides differ in your recommendations around whether to capitalize time zones. The Chicago manual of Style says lowercasing castle (eastern traditional time), when the AP Stylebook proposal capitalization (Eastern conventional Time). Check which format manual your publishing follows, and also remember come stay continuous in intake within a document.


Usage guide

Before capitalizing words like east, west, north, and south, inspect whether you room using castle as component of a ideal noun or just to describe direction or location. Don’t capitalize direction (we cruised due east) and also locations (western India), but do capitalize compass points once they take place in proper nouns (North Korea, South Sudan, East Dunbartonshire, the an excellent Western Plains). Also remember that when such words are provided in cultural references, castle are usually capitalized (Western philosophy, Eastern literature).



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Lowercase compass point out (e.g., west) as soon as using them to show direction.

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Lowercase compass points prefer north once they refer to a location rather 보다 the surname of a region.

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The southern United states is a region commonly recognized as “the American South” or simply “the South.” Words choose south room capitalized when they fall within a suitable noun.

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When terms such as Eastern and Western are offered to to express to world cultures, they room capitalized.

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Capitalize words choose east and also west as soon as they are provided as social references.