northwest or North-West

Ryan Wang

Member
Chinese
Here is the audio clip: << --- I got two questions from IELTS5 Test4 Listening section1 --- >>

Advisor: Which area do you think you will prefer?
Student:Well, I'm studying right in the centre, but I really like to live in the north-west.

Question- Preferred location: in the ____________

Question is 'northwest'. The formation of this word I found in Cambridge Dictionary was ' northwest', while what the transcript of IELTS has given is 'north-west', but the only given answer for the blank is ' North-West' and what I filled in is 'northwest'.

Why is it a capital N and W and with a dash? I really do not understand..
So what do you guys think of this question and the answer?

Another question is below:

<< --- second question removed --- >>

By the way, the requirements for the answer is write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR NUMBERS for each answer.


Appreciate all your input!
 
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  • Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Capitalised, North-West would be a proper noun, the name of a particular place. Without capitals it would be a region but not necessarily the proper name given to it. 'northwest' without a capital is, again, just a region (the same term can be a compass point/direction).

    << --- one topic per thread --- >>
     
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    Ryan Wang

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you Wordnip.
    But how can I know they're talking about a particular place or just a region?

    And I consulted two dictionaries, Cambridge and Oxford, where I had different result of 'northwest'
    In Cambridge, I searched 'north-west' but it only gave me 'northwest'. But when I searched 'northwest' or 'north-west' in Oxford, I was given only 'north-west'. So I was wondering which one was the correct one in writing, or both of them were alright?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Lowercase northwest and north-west (adv. adj. and noun) both acceptable but, if you use one version in a piece of writing, keep to that version. Here is the Google NGram viewer: Click

    The uppercase version is a proper noun and will be the [de facto] name of a specific region.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    But how can I know they're talking about a particular place or just a region?
    You can't. It's a terrible test question, like many we've seen mentioned in this forum, because there is no single correct answer.

    By the way, in the US we wouldn't hyphenate the answer. We refer to the southwestern part of our country as the Southwest (not "South-West").
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I live in the assuredly un-hyphenated Pacific Northwest.

    There are no "North-Wests" around here.

    Why is it a capital N and W and with a dash? I really do not understand.
    .

    I don't understand either.

    So what do you guys think of this question and the answer?

    I think the person who wrote the question should get out more (after having his or her knuckles rapped)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    And I live in the Northwest of England. I wouldn't dream of hyphenating it.

    As Parla says, another rubbish question from IELTS:mad:
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    There is a part of Canada called the Northwest Territories (no hyphen).

    I agree with the others who say that it's a bad question.
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your original speaker said: "Well, I'm studying right in the centre, but I really like to live in the north-west." From this we can reasonably surmise that north-west is a region, especially because it is spelled without capitals (assuming the written version is accurate). 'centre' is not a specific place either, just an area. In my opinion north-west is the correct answer but if you must use their option which is only North-West then perhaps you should choose it.

    In British English there is nothing odd about hyphenated north-west. On the contrary, it is orthodox and neither the Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary nor the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary give any but the hyphenated spellings for north-west (or north-westerly). These two works are in concurrence with The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary On Historical Principles. These are hard to ignore vis-à-vis British English.

    Further, the Guardian and Observer style guide (online) gives 'north-west England, the north-west, etc. and north-east England. This despite their advice: 'Our style is to use one word wherever possible. Hyphens tend to clutter up text ...' etc. (worth reading).
     
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