on the north of an area


Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
How often do you use 'on the north(/south/west/east...) of' an area ?

Canada is to/on the north of the USA?
Mexico is to/on the south of the usa?
The UK is to/on the west of France?
Brazil is to/on the south of the usa?

I ask because some grammatical teaching material is always emphasizing that 'area A is on the north of B' indicates that A abuts B while 'to the north' means A does not abuts B. I have some doubts on this view. It seems to me that in native speakers' English either A abuts B or not, 'to the north' will do.

For example, they may say 'Mongolia is to the north of China'. And it seems as if they seldom use 'on the north'. Am I right?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    I would mark, without exception, all of the "on" versions as incorrect.

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