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East, Eastern, South, Southern etc.

Posted by Manjusha; You are here: Home --> Practical English English --> East, Eastern, South, Southern etc.

We prefer eastern, southern etc when we are talking about rather indefinite areas, and east, south etc. for more clearly defined places.

  • The northern part of this country is hilly.
  • The west side of the house (NOT The western side )

Capital letters are used at the beginning of East, Eastern, South, Southern etc when these come in official or well-established place names.

  • North Carolina
  • South Africa
  • Middle East

In other cases, adjectives and nouns normally begin with small letters.

  • The sun rises in the east.
  • There is a strong north wind.

In place names, the use of East, Eastern, North, Northern etc is often just a matter of custom, with no real reason for the difference.


  • North America
  • South Africa
  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Western Australia

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