Capitalization Issues: Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western

Posted April 5, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This one always gives me fits. I can spend more time examining the context of any of these directions to ensure it should be capped or lowercased, and I’ve found this note about it very helpful in my own editing. I’m hoping you’ll find it handy as well.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Credit to: Apple; Chicago, 8.47 – 8.5, 8.55; Skillin, 150-151
Capitalize lowercase
Geographical regions

When referring to a cultural, political, or area distinction

Part of a proper name

When used to indicate parts of states or provinces

  • General locations

Points of the compass: directions or location

West Virginia
Northern Europe
Southeast Asia
Southern cooking
Southern women
Northern Hemisphere
North Pole

Many waterskiers have relocated from the Northeast to the South.

In the North, you’re more likely to need down jackets.

When you’re down South, you’ll experience Southern hospitality.

The West Coast is where the movie industry really took off.

Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina are the states considered to be the Deep South.

The Eastern Seaboard of the United States is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean.

Chuck Berry was a Midwesterner from St. Louis.

I just adore Southern fried chicken.

Some people confuse a Midwestern accent with a Canadian one.

Go West, young man.

southern Wisconsin
northern Quebec
northern Atlantic

The western side of Colorado is renowned for its peaches.

Many retirees flee northern winters for Florida.

The drought has ended in the northern states.

Jenny’s sales territory takes in most of the northwestern states.

Wisconsin is generally associated with dairy products, but few realize that Door County in northern Wisconsin is renowned for their cherries.

Go east for about three blocks, then turn west on South Main Street.

Ted is passionate about western movies.

Oranges were the cash crop in southern California before movies.

Rye is located in the south of England.

History of the Word:
Old English

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Weather Vane in Bussang” is Tangopaso’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.