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North, South, East & West - Usage

Each of the points of the compass (north, south, east, west, south-east, north-west etc) can be:

  • noun (The sun rises in the east.)
  • adjective (It is sunny on the east coast.)
  • adverb (We drove east for 50 miles.)

Look at some more example sentences:

Penguins live in the south. noun
The wind is coming from the east.
He lives in the south-east of England.
He lives in South London. adjective
The storm will reach the north-west coast tomorrow.
Polar bears live at the North Pole.
Penguins live at the South Pole.
Is the country South Africa in the south of the African continent? adjective | noun
Our house faces south-west. adverb
Our car broke down a mile east of the city.
He lives south of London.

The points of the compass are capitalized when they form part of a name, for example: South Africa, East Timor, North America, the South Pole, Northwest Territories.

south of London

Notice the difference between "in the south" and "to the south" or just "south":

  • Paris is in the north of France.
  • Sweden is north of France.
  • Belgium is to the north of France.
  • Canada is north of the USA.
  • The USA is north of Mexico
  • Mexico is south of the USA.
  • Moscow is in the west of Russia.
  • Europe is west of Russia.
  • Europe is to the west of Russia.
  • Shanghai is in the east of China.
  • Japan is east of China.
  • Japan is to the east of China.


Try the North, South, East & West Quiz to check your understanding >

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