You should only capitalize directions, such as south, when you are referring to it as the proper noun, such as “in the South.” If you are merely referring to a direction, such as “go south on I-90,” then you should keep south lowercase.
Some common examples of when you should capitalize south include:
- down South
- the Deep South
and when you should lowercase it:
- in the south of France
- go south on I-90 and then north
What about capitalizing southern or Southerner?
The same rules apply to capitalizing southern as capitalizing south. 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.
You should always capitalize Southerner since it refers to a group of people who are proper nouns.
To know what other words you should capitalize, try our free title capitalization tool.