North, South, East, and West

I sometimes hear students mix up directions like “north of” or “in northern”. It’s an easy thing to confuse. Below are some examples to help you remember the most common patterns.

in + northern, southern, eastern, western = inside an area  
Ex: New York is in the northern US. 
Atlanta is in the southern US. 
Ex: They’re both in the eastern US.  
Ex: LA is in the western US. 

North, south, east, west + of = outside an area 
Ex: Canada is north of the US. 
Ex: The US
 is south of Canada. 
Ex: California is east of Hawaii. 
Ex: Hawaii is west of California.

North, south, east, and west are also parts of place names (remember to capitalize them)
Ex: Canada is part of North America
Ex: Brazil is part of South America. 
Ex: Have you ever been to 
East Anglia? 
Ex: I read a book about 
West Germany.

Of course, there are lots of other special examples and other ways to say these general place names. We often say a place is “up north” or “down south”. In the US, it’s also common to say a place is “out west” or “back east”. 

Cities are sometimes different based on how they are built. For example, you might visit North London or South London, but Manhattan has uptown and downtown. So keep an eye out for interesting variations and cool place names! 

Let’s Practice! 
1. Denmark is _____ Europe. 
    a. in northern   b. north of   c. north 

2. Cape Town is _____ Africa. 
    a. in south  b. in southern   c. in South

3. New Zealand has two main parts; the _____ Island and the _____ Island.
    a. north / south   b. North / South  c. northern / southern

4. Have you ever been to Romania? I think it’s _____ Europe.
    a. in eastern   b. east of   c. Eastern

5. _____ and _____ Carolina are beautiful states. You would like them. 
    a. north / south  b. North / South   c. northern / southern

6. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are on the same island. Haiti is the _____
     part of the island and the DR is the _____ part. 
     a. north / south   b. western / eastern  c. west / east

7. There are a lot of farms _____ the city. 
     a. north of   b. north   c. east

8. Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the _____ Pole.
    a. south   b. North   c. north

9. The gas station is a few kilometers _____ here. 
    a. in eastern   b. south    c. west of

10. One of my favorite books is John Steinbeck’s _____ Eden.
     a. eastern     b. East of     c. West of

1. a   2. c   3. b   4. a   5. b   6. b/c   7. a   8. b   9. c   10. b

Did I forget something? Spot a typo? Let me know in the comments!
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