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I want to say I come from a city in the northern part of the country. Would the following be correct?

I come from X, which is a city in the north of the country.

It sounds unnatural.

  • It's grammatically correct. The "of the country" part isn't very informative, since if the listener doesn't already know what country you come from, it doesn't tell him anything. – Peter Shor May 21 '13 at 20:09
  • The city could be in the northern part of a region, province, or geographic region that is not a country. – kiamlaluno May 22 '13 at 21:23
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The sentence, as Peter Shor says, is grammatically and even semantically correct, but not optimal. How you say it is a matter of style. I'd suggest this:

I come from Yilan, a small city in northeastern Taiwan. [Specific information is good]

You don't need the relative pronoun which or the copula is. It's usually better to use a short adjective phrase like northeastern Taiwan than a prepositional phrase like in the northeastern part of Taiwan because brevity is almost always a virtue.

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In British English, we would say something the lines of:

I come from Manchester, which is a city up North

  • Is this kind of verbosity encouraged in BrE? AmE also uses up north, down south, out west, & even down east (which is an ironic term for northern New England, especially Maine). Manchester may be up north from London, but it looks to be in west central England, even without the top hat of Scotland. – user264 May 22 '13 at 0:05
  • @BillFranke: Normally we don't include Scotland in whether something is North or South, and North is basically anything above the Midlands. In the UK we often talk about North versus South (i.e. the North/South divide), and so saying out west / out east is very much less common than up North / down South, although it is still used. Liverpool and Newcastle would therefore both be called "up North", London is and Kent would be "down South" – Matt May 22 '13 at 0:35
  • Different countries, different conventions. Reasonable. :-) – user264 May 22 '13 at 2:02

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