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Use capital letters for official place names like North Carolina and South Africa and commonly-recognized regions like Midlands or the American South, but lower case for general areas defined by compass points, such as the north, the southeast and the southwest. In UK English, use south-east and south-west (with a hyphen).


  • Downtown Memphis, along the Mississippi River, is actually the western edge of town.
  • I lost my cowboy boots on my trip to West Virginia. Are there any good Western stores outside of the Southwest?