I found two sentences that are confusing because they are similiar yet a little different? Sentence 1: I live in southern Connecticut. rule : when a directional term refer to directions-they should be lowercased.

Sentence 2: I live in Southern California. rule:a directional term like Southern is capitalized when it refers to a region.

It appears that something is wrong with one of these sentences. My guess is sentence one. If sentence one stated-I live in the southern part of Connecticut, then it makes more sense for southern to be lowercase when used as a directional term meaning referring to directions. What do you think, please?strong text


2 Answers 2


If the directional word is part of the proper name of a place, then it must be capitalized. If the directional word merely refers to one portion of a named place, then it shouldn't be capitalized.

Southern California is the proper name of a defined geographical and cultural area, so "southern" must be capitalized. In contrast, "southern Connecticut" means the southern part of Connecticut, and does not identify any defined geographical or cultural area, so "southern" should not be capitalized.


You need to capitalize the word if it is before a place, so it doesn't make sense to use 'southern' like that in the first sentence. I live in the southern part of Connecticut, which is the correct version.

  • 2
    You are right about sentence 1, but you don't explain what is the difference between sentences 1 an 2. See gotube's answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 13, 2021 at 13:42

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