Rules about capitalizing east/East, northwards/Northwards etc.?
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Sep 29, 2013 12:09 AM Last Post By: Count_Zero
Sep 27, 2013 12:52 PM
Rules about capitalizing east/East, northwards/Northwards etc.?In a text about Jews fleeing Romania during WWII, when do I capitalize things like:
All these relatives fled East/east and North/north from the German and Romanian armies
The Germans marched from the west/West into Russia
France was split in two: the northern/Northerm part, including occupied Paris, and the southern/Southern part (Vichy).
And simple things like -
At this point the boulevard ran from east to west, parallel to the river.
But also -
In 1944 we became “allies” of the West.
(Was there even a division into blocs then?)
Sep 27, 2013 1:29 PM
1I would only capitalize the last one.
I don't know what it means. Anyone who became allied with the US and the UK in 1944 also became allied with the USSR. (Footnote) And Germany and Italy are west of the USSR, where most of the fighting was going on.
Footnote: Unless they declared war only on Japan, and not on Germany. But I don't think anyone did that in 1944.
Sep 27, 2013 2:12 PM
2I see all sorts of words being capitalized these days – the most irritating ones are those mergers of two words with a capital letter in the middle of the word.
North, east, south and west within a text should not be capitalized in the sample text you provided. The words would be capitalized when they are forming terms such as North Sea or East Africa etc. Same applies to “the East” (countries lying to the east of Europe, e.g. India or China), “the West” as VinnyD pointed out or “the East”, i.e. the former communist states of eastern Europe.
Sep 27, 2013 11:02 PM
3Yes, don't capitalize for ordinary location or direction, only for proper names, and when the direction is a metonym for a political (or quasi-political) entity. Besides Cold War references to the West and the East, in the United States it was the North that fought the South during the Civil War.
Where it gets a little grey is that in the US we also capitalize broad geographic regions (e.g. "Chicago is biggest city in the Midwest" or "I've lived in the West all my life.").
Edited by: zashibis
Sep 28, 2013 2:03 AM
Sep 28, 2013 3:50 AM
Sep 28, 2013 5:32 AM
Sep 28, 2013 11:44 PM
7(See this typical example. 3 out of 10. That's the spanner in the brainworks.)
(And it seems now there's quite a bit of it in the opposite direction, too:)
(Fancy that. I never realized it was an SA thing.)
Sep 29, 2013 12:09 AM
Yes, the logic of that is not beyond me.
Some newspapers have their own way of thinking.
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