7

I was solving a math problem which said that "the wind is blowing due north."

This could be interpreted in two different ways and I don't know which one is correct:

  1. "the wind is blowing from due north."
  2. "the wind is blowing to/towards due north."

It could mean that the wind comes from north towards south (#1). Or it comes from south towards north (#2).

My questions are:

  • Which meaning is the correct one?
  • and, Are there any other ways to tell others the direction of the wind?
4

The word ‘due’ in this context would means a person or thing was traveling in the direction indicated. So a person traveling to the north from the south is heading due north, and a wind blowing due north is blowing from south to north.

Normally, winds are named for the direction they come from. So a north wind is blowing from north to south, and is expected to be cold. An east wind blows from east to west, and a south wind from the south.

While the language usage is saying the wind is blowing south to north, the more common English language convention is that a wind is described with the direction it is coming from. If you have access to the question writer, I’d ask them which they meant, because it is easy for a native speaker to mix this up. Otherwise, assume that ‘due north’ means the wind is coming from the south.

2

The wind is blowing due north.

There's no ambiguity in the sentence. Almost all the dictionaries give a clear-cut explanation of the words "due" and "north".

First, let's be clear that the "due" is also used as an adverb, which means "directly, exactly, or straight".

Second, north (or south/east/west) can be used as a noun, adjective, or adverb. A few examples are given below:

*The wind was blowing to the north, which means south to north. (used as a noun)

*The wind was blowing from the north, which means north to south.(used as a noun)

*We are faced with a north/northerly wind. When used as an adjecive, it means the direction it blows from. Here, it means north to south).

*The wind is blowing north. When used as an adverb, it means the direction it blows to. Here, it means south to north. Other examples are We traveled east. The stream flows west.

We use the phrase "due north/south/east/west" to mean the direction that is directly or straight towards the north/south/east/west accordingly.

So the sentence, without any ambiguity, means that the wind is blowing directly towards the north (south to north). Please see a few other examples. Please go two miles due east. The village lies five miles due south.

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