I have 40 characters to give hints to users about the location of a "prize" (Broken up into two lines of 20 characters.) There is some ambiguity when I send the following hint:

The prize is somewhere
   North from here.

I mean to imply that any location further North than this spot can have the prize. This includes any location directly North, to the Northeast, or Northwest. But, from this spot, the prize is neither on this latitude nor any Southern location.

The problem is, the majority of users interpret this clue to mean the prize is directly North from here, and feel cheated when they search all locations due North and come back empty handed.

How would you convey, in 40 characters or less, that the prize is North from here, but not necessarily due North?

  • 4
    It's not proper English, but you could say "North-ish". – Chris Cudmore Jul 15 '13 at 16:33
  • 1
    "The prize is in the North quadrant from here." (Don't know whether you count the spaces as 'characters' - but you could change "The prize" to "It".) I assume you mean it cannot be further south than NE or NW? Or you could say "between NE & NW from here". – TrevorD Jul 15 '13 at 16:37
  • @TrevorD If the locations were on a grid, a valid location would be anywhere the Y coordinate is greater than the Y at this spot. (Any location that requires you to take at least 1 step North.) – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 16:46
  • 1
    So it could be only 0.1 degree 'above' directly east or west! All I can think of is along the lines of "northern semi-circle" or "northern half of the compass". – TrevorD Jul 15 '13 at 16:53
  • 2
    IMHO, X is North from here more strongly implies directly North than X is North of here. I couldn't accept Moscow is North from London, but I can (just about) go along with Moscow is North of London. And I've no problem at all with Moscow is more northerly than London. – FumbleFingers Jul 15 '13 at 20:43

10 Answers 10



The prize is somewhere
to the north

That sounds less due north-ish than “north from here”. Otherwise, just replacing ‘from’ with ‘of’ would make it less specific too. ‘Somewhere north of here’ does not to me imply going straight up north—I’d place Toronto as ‘somewhere north of’ New York, for example.


An even simpler solution just occurred to me:

The prize is
further north

  • 6
    Since Toronto is the self-proclaimed centre of the universe, you'd be more correct in saying New York is somewhere south of Toronto. – Chris Cudmore Jul 15 '13 at 16:46
  • 1
    Did a comparison trial, and this particular answer seemed to cause the least confusion. "Somewhere to the North" best conveyed a general area of valid locations instead of a straight line. – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 19:31
  • You would also not place Toronto as somewhere north of Tokyo, yet it satisfies the "north but not directly north" criterion, just like relative to N. Y. – Kaz Jul 16 '13 at 0:27
  • I would perhaps not place Toronto as “somewhere north of Tokyo”, but I would definitely place is as “north of Tokyo”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 16 '13 at 0:32
  • Good answer, but the "simpler solution" was already brought up by Colin about 8 hours ago. – Asad Saeeduddin Jul 16 '13 at 1:42

I would say The prize is further North than here.

  • Personally I think this is a very valid answer. When I ran it past new users, there unfortunately wasn't that much difference. +1 for an otherwise acceptable solution. – 4444 Jul 17 '13 at 15:35

You could say that the prize is at a higher latitude than your current location. Because the convention is to give latitude and longitude together when possible, giving just one highlights the fact that you didn't specify the other, whereas it's a perfectly plausible thing to tell someone to go north and have them understand it as due north.

Some people might not know what latitude and longitude are (or confuse them), so it's not a perfect solution, but it has the exact meaning you're looking for.

  • But in the southern hemisphere, higher latitude probably means farther south, which is not the exact meaning being sought. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 15 '13 at 19:49
  • Latitudes range from -90 to 90, but I've been led to believe that lower and higher always correspond to -infinity and +infinity, whereas smaller and larger maps to zero and one of the infinities, respectively. – rsegal Jul 15 '13 at 20:15
  • From Latitude in wikipedia: “Latitude is an angle ... which ranges from 0° at the Equator to 90° (North or South) at the poles.” – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 15 '13 at 20:29

The best way to say that I think is, 'The prize is to the north [of here],' which simply implies anywhere in the general direction of north.

You could also say, 'the prize is northward,' or, 'the prize is toward the north,' although I like the former more than the latter. None of these mean due north or directly north.

Still, I imagine that the majority of users, upon reading this, will head due north because that is the average of all possible directions the user could go and the most obvious.

  • I would imagine the same: There's nothing to say the prize ISN'T due north, but if users check all spots directly north they should clearly understand they haven't checked every valid location. – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 16:58
  • 3
    Yes, "north of here" not "north from here". – Andrew Leach Jul 15 '13 at 17:29
  • Yay for northward. – Chase Jul 15 '13 at 22:39

Northish is good, but if you want to stick to “dictionary words”, consider not South (or not south):

The prize is somewhere
Not South from here.

Also consider the word northing, “A distance traveled northward” (or previously-mentioned northward itself, which means “Towards the north; in a northerly direction”), thus:

The prize is somewhere
A northing from here.

The prize is somewhere
Northward from here.

  • There was a brief time where I tried tacking on a random adjective suffix to a direction, such as "Northish" or "Easterly" or "Southwise" - It fit the humorous tone of the exercise, but it did tend to confuse users the first few times. +1 for a good set of suggestions, though – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 19:33
  • +1 on 'not south' — gives a riddle-like ring to it! As people have said for north above though, I'd say "not south of" rather than "not south from". – anotherdave Jul 15 '13 at 20:28
  • West is not South, yet the prize is not there. – Asad Saeeduddin Jul 16 '13 at 1:43

The prize is somewhere
… … in the sector north of here.

See definition and image:

sec·tor [sek-ter] noun (reference.com<-RHD '13)
1. Geometry . a plane figure bounded by two radii and the included arc of a circle.

(Florida Center for Instructional Technology)
enter image description here


How about just saying what you said to describe what you meant?

The prize is not south of here

The negation is more general. "Not south" implies not anywhere to the south, even a little bit. "North" does not imply anywhere to the north, even a little bit.

  • I've tried a somewhat similar approach, but users were more confused as to why I just didn't say "North." More importantly, it didn't include the fact that the prize was not south AND not on the current latitude. – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 20:17
  • This suffers from an inversion of the OP's original problem. Southwest and east of a place are both candidates for "not south", yet neither falls within 90 degrees of compass north. – Asad Saeeduddin Jul 16 '13 at 1:46

If we assume we're in the Northern Hemisphere, you could use

The prize is further from the equator


The prize is closer to the North Pole

They both satisfy your criteria of meaning further North, but not necessarily due North, and are under 40 characters.

  • Is it considered outré on this forum to ask why an answer has been downvoted? – Phil M Jones Jul 17 '13 at 8:51

One (somewhat grandiose) way to put it would be:

On the North horizon 
seek your prize.
  • I'd really appreciate a comment as to why you think this is incorrect. Thanks. – Asad Saeeduddin Jul 16 '13 at 19:27

(fulfilling the 30 char limit)

  • 7
    There's a limit for a reason. You should try to explain why yours is good. – Mitch Jul 15 '13 at 19:15
  • Technically the limit was 40, but your answer is otherwise valid. Unfortunately it did not do much in trials to reduce confusion. – 4444 Jul 15 '13 at 19:34
  • 1
    The 30-character limit is for StackExchange answers. ;-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 15 '13 at 21:48

protected by RegDwigнt Jul 15 '13 at 22:43

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