'a Midwestern college'

'southwestern pottery'

the California coast' 

are these stmts. capitalized correctly?

capitalization asked Nov 28 '12 at 23:11 Courtney New member

2 answers


The first -- a Midwestern college -- is correctly capitalized. The second -- southwestern pottery -- is not. Like Midwestern, Southwest is -- in this phrase -- the proper name of a region and should be capitalized.


For the third, we need additional context to decide whether it is properly capitalized. The California Coast, as the proper name of a region, is capitalized. However, the California coast, when refering generically to the California coastline (as in "Sir Francis Drake landed somewhere on the California coast"), is not.


I hope this helps.

link comment answered Nov 29 '12 at 04:25 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Depending on the style manual used, the initial response to this question could be considered incorrect. Many would say that the words "southwestern" and "midwestern" should not be capitalized in this situation as they are not being used as part of a place name and, thus, should not be given the courtesy of capitalization.


There has long been debate over how to handle directional terms, and this article does a good job of laying it out:

link comment edited May 19 '16 at 13:03 LD Gerst New member

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.