Do You Capitalize Directions?

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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.


Capitalize My Title is a dynamic title capitalization tool used to make sure your titles or headlines use proper capitalization rules according to various style guides include APA, AP, MLA, and Chicago. It also counts your words and checks for grammar issues.

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