Abbreviations of state names as well as proper use of compass directions

compass directions/ geographical regions

1. Lowercase compass directions: northsoutheastwestnorthwestsoutheastern and others.

  • CORRECT: She moved to the southwestern United States, but will not wear sunscreen—so she’s toast.
  • CORRECT: Only tourist associations refer to west Michigan as West Michigan.

2. Capitalize regions within the United States, but not within individual states.

  • CORRECT: Soon after moving from east Wisconsin to the East Coast, the Calvin alumnus was seen sporting a sou’wester.
  • CORRECT: The Pacific Northwest is famous for salmon fishing, Starbucks and Bill Gates’ humongous house. The Midwest isn’t famous for much.

states/ provinces/ territories

1. Use an abbreviation of a state name when referring to a city and state together in a list. Do not abbreviate a Canadian province or territory name. Spell out the names of states, provinces and territories in running text and when they stand alone.

  • INCORRECT: The alumnus hailed from Elmira, N.Y., but he had never visited the Finger Lakes.
  • CORRECT: The alumnus hailed from Elmira, New York, but he had never visited the Finger Lakes.
  • CORRECT: The alumnus was a New York native, but he had never visited the Finger Lakes.
  • CORRECT: The alumna hailed from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and her accent gave her away to the guy from Ontario.

2. Use Associated Press abbreviations, not postal codes, for U.S. states and territories and in lists of Calvin publications. Do not abbreviate in running text. Eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

3. Following are the abbreviations for U.S. states and territories:

States
Alabama Ala.
Alaska Alaska
Arizona Ariz.
Arkansas Ark.
California Calif.
Colorado Colo.
Connecticut Conn.
Delaware Del.
Florida Fla.
Georgia Ga.
Hawaii Hawaii
Idaho Idaho
Illinois Ill.
Indiana Ind.
Iowa Iowa
Kansas Kan.
Kentucky Ky.
Louisiana La.
Maine Maine
Maryland Md.
Massachusetts Mass.
Michigan Mich.
Minnesota Minn.
Mississippi Miss.
Missouri Mo.
Montana Mont.
Nebraska Neb.
Nevada Nev.
New Hampshire N.H.
New Jersey N.J.
New Mexico N.M.
New York N.Y.
North Carolina N.C.
North Dakota N.D.
Ohio Ohio

Oklahoma Okla.
Oregon Ore.
Pennsylvania Pa.
Rhode Island R.I.
South Carolina S.C.
South Dakota S.D.
Tennessee Tenn.
Texas Texas
Utah Utah
Vermont Vt.
Virginia Va.
Washington Wash.
West Virginia W.Va.
Wisconsin Wis.
Wyoming Wyo.
Territories
District of Columbia D.C.
Guam Guam
Puerto Rico P.R.
Samoa Samoa
Virgin Islands V.I.

3. streets

Do not abbreviate the words avenue, boulevard and street in running text, unless they are accompanied by a numeral.

  • CORRECT: The residents of the White House live on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • CORRECT: The residents of the White House live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.