To my understanding, specific geographic regions are always capitalized. For example, Southern US is proper because it is a specific region.

However, a co-author argues that southern should not be capitalized, because it is an adjective, not a noun.

So which is it? Southern US or southern US?

Per comment: Note that I am speaking of a particular region of the United States, not "a location in a particular sector." Hence, presumably, the portion of the United States known widely as the (S/s)outhern United States.

  • This resource may be of use: proofreadnow.com/blog/bid/30440/… Jun 9 '17 at 18:35
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    Context, please. Are you providing the name of a specific region of the U.S. or simply referring to a location in a particular sector? New Mexico is among the southern United States, but is certainly not among the Southern United States. Hong Kong is arguably in southeast Asia, inarguably not in Southeast Asia. Yukon is among the northwest territories, but not the Northwest Territories.
    – choster
    Jun 9 '17 at 19:52
  • I'm referring to a specific geographic region, as indicated in the post.
    – Derelict
    Jun 11 '17 at 1:12
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    The common way to refer to the area is the South. There is not widespread agreement about whether to use southern US or Southern US. Links given in various answers use both in an inconsistent manner. Sep 10 '17 at 21:43

The "Southern" should be capitalized. Like you said, "Southern US" is a proper noun, so each word should be capitalized. The "Southern" part is not an adjective here, but a part of the whole noun. It is capitalized very often:

Southern United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_United_States
Tourist Destinations in the Southern U.S.: https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-destinations-in-the-southern-united-states-3301132
Southern United States (NWE): http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Southern_United_States

  • The Southern Hemisphere might be big enough to demand a capital S. As parts of countries southern US equates to southern England, southern Spain, southern France or anywhere else. Foreigners generally call a specific region of another country the South of France, for instance, and of their home country the South. Don't you think from any other perspective, Southern US is a contradiction in terms. Sep 10 '17 at 20:39
  • -1 because your second link uses southern US (except in the title) and your third link uses both southern US and Southern US, so it doesn't seem to explain anything. Sep 10 '17 at 21:40

How would that not mean Southern (anywhere) deserved a capital 'S', please?

Africa seems an easy example. South Africa as a country is a clearly defined political entity with a capital 'S' but however southern Africa is defined it has no capital 'S', even though Southern Rhodesia used to.

The South as defined by the Mason-Dixon Line has a big 'S' but southern US America should only merit one if it really is clearly defined… as see, for instance, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_United_States

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