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PHP Regular expression for North/South/East/West

Hi everyone,

I am currently working on a project where I need to validate user input for directions. The directions can be either "North", "South", "East", or "West". I am looking for a regular expression in PHP that can match any of these directions.

I have tried using the pattern `/[North|South|East|West]/`, but it seems to match any character within the square brackets rather than the whole word. For example, it would also match "N", "o", "r", "t", etc.

Can anyone please suggest a regular expression that can accurately match only the complete words "North", "South", "East", or "West" in PHP?

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

All Replies


Hey there,

I had a similar requirement to validate directions in one of my PHP projects, and I found a solution that might work for you. You can try using the word boundaries `\b` in your regular expression pattern.

So, instead of `/[North|South|East|West]/`, you can modify it to `/\b(North|South|East|West)\b/`. This will ensure that the regular expression only matches the complete words "North", "South", "East", or "West" and not any individual characters within those words.

I tested this approach in my project, and it worked perfectly to validate the directions. Give it a try, and let me know if it helps in your case.

Good luck with your project!


Greetings fellow developers!

I recently had a similar situation where I needed to validate direction inputs in PHP. While exploring different approaches, I stumbled upon a handy function called `preg_match` which worked wonders for me.

Here's the code snippet that may assist you:

$inputDirection = "West";

if (preg_match('/^(North|South|East|West)$/', $inputDirection)) {
// Valid direction, you can proceed with your logic here
} else {
// Invalid direction, handle the error accordingly

In this method, I used the `preg_match` function along with a regular expression pattern `/^(North|South|East|West)$/`. The `^` and `$` symbols denote the start and end of the string respectively, ensuring that it only matches the complete word.

By enclosing the directions within parentheses and using the `|` symbol, it checks if the input matches any of those specified values.

I found this approach to be concise, straightforward, and effective for validating directions. Feel free to give it a try and let me know if it works for your needs!

Happy coding!


Hello everyone,

I encountered a similar scenario not too long ago while developing a PHP application that required direction validation. After some trial and error, I found a different approach that may be worth considering.

Instead of using a regular expression, I utilized the `in_array` function combined with an array of valid direction values. Here's the code snippet I used:

$inputDirection = "South";
$validDirections = array("North", "South", "East", "West");

if (in_array($inputDirection, $validDirections)) {
// Valid direction, you can proceed with your logic here
} else {
// Invalid direction, handle the error accordingly

In this method, you define an array called `$validDirections` with all the acceptable direction values. Then, you simply check if the user input direction, stored in `$inputDirection`, exists in the array using `in_array`.

This approach worked well for me, as it provided more flexibility and maintainability, especially if you need to add or modify direction options in the future.

I hope this alternative solution proves useful for your project. Let me know if you have any questions or need further assistance!

Best regards.

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