“The Canadian Style”


Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is the nation’s official publisher and our largest translation organization. It also publishes a wonderful online style guide and a collection of writing and editing tools that will handily assist students and teachers, authors and editors, and managers and professionals of any stripe. I dare say that creating this guide must have been a labour of love for a number of people. Every section into which I have dipped is utterly clear and helpful, and often illuminating as well.

From the website: The Canadian Style gives concise answers to questions concerning written English in the Canadian context. It covers such topics as the decimal point, abbreviations, capital letters, punctuation marks, hyphenation, spelling, frequently misused or confused words and Canadian geographical names. It also includes useful advice for drafting letters, memos, reports, indexes and bibliographies. In addition, The Canadian Style includes techniques for writing clearly and concisely, editing documents, and avoiding stereotyping in communications.”

The style guide is searchable by chapter as well as by index. (Everything you need to know about the semicolon is here.)

I will be recommending several sections of the style guide to my students this fall, in particular those on the topics of revision and plain language.


Addendum: The PWGSC homepage also links you to the delightful “Language Portal of Canada.” There you will find all manner of language and writing resources. You will also be tempted by its huge collection of quizzes, one or two of which I have already found more humbling than I would have hoped.

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