East, Eastern, North, Northern

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

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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