Geographic Areas and Directions: How to Capitalize

If you’re writing about a geographic direction, do not capitalize the word:

We drove south on the San Diego Freeway for close to 75 miles.  Boston is north of Providence.

However, if you are writing about a geographic area, do capitalize the word or words:

Charlie was born in the Midwest.  Jamal works in the North.  Eddie was married in Southern Maine.  Syria is in the Middle East.  Good restaurants abound in the Pacific Northwest.

 

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