Is Midwest Capitalized?

The Midwest is an expansive region in the US and often referred to in writing and in conversation. Locations and places often confuse people when it comes to capitalization. If you find yourself wondering “is Midwest capitalized?” then check the examples below.

As a Proper Noun

In English, proper nouns and locations are generally capitalized. For example:

Anna went to Chicago last week.

Diana flew home to the Midwest for the holidays.

In these instances, Chicago and the Midwest are physical locations and defined regions. That makes them a proper noun, and capitalized in a sentence. Notice, however, that we generally don’t capitalize “the” in the phrase “the Midwest.”

As an Adjective

Midwest, like many locations or countries, can be converted to an adjective. For example, you might hear phrases such as “the midwestern accent” or “midwestern states.” When it comes to the directions– meaning North, South, East, and West– their adjectives are always lowercase. For example:

The tourists said they were midwestern.

I think that my favorite food is southern comfort food.

The book shop is in the northern part of the city.

This isn’t to be confused with nationalities, which are always capitalized. For example,

An American man walked into the store.

The German restaurant was quite popular.

The Italian team won the final match in the Olympics.

Because midwestern is a direction and not a country, we wouldn’t capitalize it when we say “midwestern people.”

As a Direction

If it ever gets a little confusing, it’s important to remember that Midwest is more of a direction than a location. Locations (such as America, Spain) have a slightly different set of rules. But like all the directions, Midwest is generally capitalized. For example:

The book store is coming to the Midwest and the Southeast.

I think she lives in the Southwest now.

In the South, the weather tends to be warmer.

North, South, East, West, and all their counterparts are capitalized. Add “-ern,” and that becomes the opposite, however.

Of course, because Midwest and midwestern are over five letters, they get capitalized regardless if used in a title. If you’re stuck on whether or not to capitalize Midwest in your particular sentence, using uppercase is a safe bet. However, just remember that just because Midwest is capitalized in your sentence, words later on such as midwestern aren’t.

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