Words for Directions

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

Remember that the words that represent directions — north, south, east, west — in any form are capitalized when they represent a recognized geographical area. This presumes that you might have to have some information about a region to know whether it is “recognized.”

Here in Los Angeles, for example, people would recognize “West L.A.” and “East L.A.,” but we don’t have a “north L.A.” I would not say, “I live in north L.A.” as it would not mean anything to anyone.

…vacationing in the Northwest…
…going to South America…

When the word represents a direction, it is not capped.

…driving south for several hours…
…moving north of the city…

This rule does not work when you have a word that might represent a direction but that does not contain one of these four directions.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

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