Capitalising names of geographical/tourist terms

I’m translating a series of short tourism-related texts from Croatian to English and I can’t find definitive answers for some of my dilemmas:

Names of waterfalls / caves / trails & word order

Are they capitalised the same as river / mountain / etc.?

Is there a rule on whether they should be used before or after the actual name (if the place in question is not big or famous enough to have an English name for it used consistently)?

What is correct:

Lorem Waterfall / Waterfall Lorem

Ipsum Cave / Cave Ipsum

Educational Trail Lorem / Lorem Educational Trail / Lorem educational trail (or any other combination)

Forest Trail Ipsum / Ipsum Forest Trail / Ipsum forest trail…

This has been driving me crazy, so thank you in advance!


First, this is a matter of style, rather than a grammatical matter. Therefore, there will be differing opinions. Does the publishing firm you are working with on the translations have a house style manual? If so, you should follow that. If not, then I would suggest picking one of the major style manuals used by many English language publications (such as The Associated Press Stylebook or The Chicago Manual of Style) and following that style.

The AP Stylebook has this entry for capitalization of geographic names:

Capitalize common nouns when they form an integral part of a proper name, but lowercase them when they stand alone: Pennsylvania Avenue, the avenue; the Philippine Islands, the island; the Mississippi River, the river.

Lowercase common nouns that are not part of a specific name: the Pacific islands, the Swiss mountains, Zhejiang province.

If you follow this particular style, and want to apply them to your examples, you will need to decide if the name of the geographic feature (waterfall, cave, trail) is actually a part of the proper name. If so, I would go with:

  • Lorem Waterfall
  • Ipsum Cave
  • Lorem Educational Trail

If you do not (or local custom does not) deem the geographic feature as part of the proper name, then you could lowercase them:

  • Lorem waterfall
  • Ipsum cave
  • Lorem educational trail

In each case, I would put the proper name first. As a native English speaker, it sounds better to me. Of course, there are counter-examples (such as Loch Ness or Lake Superior).

As I said, this is a matter of style. Consistency is the key. Also, if you’re working with an editor, they will help you decide how their publication would handle this.

Source : Link , Question Author : evenity , Answer Author : JLG

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