I have a question which has been running through my mind for sometimes. Please forgive me if I came to the wrong place to ask, but I do have the courtesy to get the answer to this question.

Of these two:

"sun raises in the east"


"the sun raises its east".

Which one is correct?

Aren't directions north, east, west, and south imaginary, since the earth is rotating?

  • Uh, neither is correct. And the earth's rotation is precisely what gives definition to the directional terms; why ever would that make the directions imaginary?
    – Martha
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 14:43
  • The earths rotation is relative to its orbit around the sun. Because the sun is much larger, it is considered to be the center. Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


The normal form of the expression would be

The sun rises in the east

You wouldn't use "the sun raises" because the verb raise requires an object, and it would mean that the sun itself is lifting some other object, and you wouldn't refer to "its east" (that is, "the sun's east") because we the are speaking of the earth's east, not the sun's: the sun rises on the east side of the earth.

The cardinal directions are not imaginary just because the earth is rotating; in fact, they can be defined in terms of the rotation: East is the direction in which the rotation proceeds, west is the direction away from which the rotation proceeds, north is the direction 90 degrees counterclockwise from east, and south is 90 degrees counterclockwise from west.

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