Learn English – The Amazon and The Sahara


I was trying to find a definitive source on whether or not to capitalize "rainforest" when it follows "Amazon" in the Amazon rainforest. Wikipedia seems to have it not capitalized, though they strangely capitalize "Amazon Jungle". I went to look for "Sahara desert" and came across the same phenomenon. Many sources seem to not capitalize the second word in these two examples.

Other rainforests and deserts (such as the Daintree Rainforest and the Mojave Desert) seem to be rather uniformly capitalized.

Are these two different because their names are "the Amazon" and "the Sahara" as opposed to "the Amazon Rainforest" and "the Sahara Desert"?

Best Answer

The reason that Mohave Desert is capitalized more often than Sahara Desert seems to be a difference between practice in the U.K. and the U.S. See this Ngram, which shows that Americans are much more likely to use capitalization in "Sahara Desert" than Brits are. And clearly, Americans are also much more likely to mention the Mohave.

Both capital and lowercase are used, but you should pick one style and be consistent. There is absolutely no reason to be inconsistent, and treat the Mohave differently from the Sahara.

I don't know what the practice is in Australia, but from the example of "Daintree Rainforest", I would expect capitalization to be the usual form, as well.