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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $49.50

676 pp.
6" x 9"


Publication date:
March 2011

Imprint: OUP Canada

Guide to Canadian English Usage

Reissue, Second Edition

Margery Fee and Janice McAlpine

The complexities of the English language can be daunting for even the most fluent speakers, and for Canadians this is doubly so with the mixture of British and American traditions. Almost anyone engaged in formal writing will sometimes need to consult a usage guide for advice, but Canadians have always been forced to choose between a British or an American source. With the Guide to Canadian English Usage, writers will have an authoritative reference based on Canadian sources that provides pithy direction on numerous details of the language.

From the indefinite article to zoology, alphabetically arranged entries clarify issues of word choice, punctuation, spelling, and abbreviation. Throughout it offers guidance on Canadianisms, confusibles, difficult expressions, First Nation names, foreign phrases, grammar, inclusive language, punctuation, spelling, and troublesome pronunciations. Each entry explains the problem at hand, outlines a range of prescriptions, and then either recommends a particular usage or reviews the alternatives from which the now-informed reader can choose. All entries feature a wide range of fascinating quotations from Canadian sources.

Newly reissued in an attractive hardcover edition, the Guide to Canadian English Usage is the essential reference for any writer, editor, or speaker of English in Canada.

Readership : This A-Z guide to the way Canadians use the English language is an essential reference for students, business people, and anyone engaged in formal writing.


  • "A most welcome ... clear ... addition to your collection of interesting, informative lexicons."

    --Globe and Mail

  • "Splendidly comprehensive, beautifully organized, lucidly written, this book seems certain to become not only the standard reference work on its subject but also an important contribution to the ongoing debates about how language is used."

    --Canadian Literature

  • "A book to end all arguments, it should also prove invaluable to word-smiths of all stripes."

    --Halifax Daily News

  • "A good book, well worth having."

    --Books in Canada

  • "... the [Guide to Canadian English Usage] makes a balanced presentation of areas where controversy may arise in English usage, carving out for itself a niche which distinguishes it from a standard dictionary on the one hand and from an encyclopedia on the other. The volume will be of use to Canadian students, scholars, and writers as a reference source; to researchers and writers outside of Canada as a source of data on Canadian English usage; and to anyone interested not just in English but in general knowledge of Canada as a source of entertainment and information to be 'snacked' on from time to time or even to be devoured cover to cover."

    --Language, the journal for the Linguistic Society of America

Introduction to the Second Edition
Introduction to the First Edition
Notes on Format
Usage Guide
Appendix I Provinces and Territories
Appendix II A Notes on Measurement
Appendix III Aboriginal Groups Mentioned in the Guide
Works Consulted

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Margery Fee is the former Director of the Strathy Language Unit at Queen's University. She currently teaches Canadian and post-colonial literature at the University of British Columbia.

Janice McAlpine is the former Unit Director of the Strathy Language Unit at Queen's University.

Special Features

  • Up-to-date examples of English usage, taken from a variety of Canadian sources - from novels and popular magazines to newspapers and academic essays - illustrate common problems and solutions.
  • Thorough treatment of language problems common to all English-speakers includes coverage of confusibles, difficult expressions, and troublesome pronunciations.
  • Supplemented with information on pronunciation, spelling, and usage from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition.
  • Includes detailed information First People' languages, cross-referenced through a convenient appendix.