Capitalization: Directions and Regions

Capitalize direction names and their variations when they designate a specific region or residents of a region. Use lowercase when they designate compass points.
Crops from the West, Midwest, and South are shipped to the Northeast.
Some Northerners have never tasted Southern cooking.
Record temperatures continued to bake the Midwestern and Southern states. Strong southerly winds provided little relief.
Winds are expected to become northerly later today, bringing cooler air.

Capitalize direction names and their variations when they are used as nouns to stand for natives or residents of a specific area.

Cap direction and region names when they are part of a proper name or designate a region widely known among your audience.
Corn Belt
Cotton Belt
Down East
East Coast
Eastern Seaboard
Low Country
North Woods
Northern California
South of France
Southern California
the South Side of Chicago
Texas Hill Country
Upstate New York
West Coast

Generally use lowercase when describing a section of a state or city.
southwestern Minneapolis
western Iowa

When in doubt, use lowercase.

Capitalize when designating politically divided areas.
Northern Ireland
Western Europe (when context refers to post-World War II Europe)

Capitalize north, south, east, and west when they’re used as names for specific sections of the U.S.
in the North
out West
back East
the Deep South

Capitalize regions in time zones; cap rest of zone name if it is the official, full name.
Eastern time or Eastern Standard Time
Pacific time or Pacific Daylight Time


After colons
Company names
Directions and regions
Generic terms
Job titles
Product names


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