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Language Arts & Disciplines General

Guide to Canadian English Usage


by (author) Margery Fee & Janice McAlpine

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2007
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2000
    List Price

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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.

About the authors

Margery Fee teaches postcolonial literatures, Canadian literature, and First Nations writing at the University of British Columbia. Her recent publications include “Aboriginal Writing in Canada and the Anthology as Commodity” (Native North America: Critical and Cultural Perspectives, ed. Renée Hulan, ECW Press, 1999), and “Who Can Write as Other?” (The Postcolonial Studies Reader, eds. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, Routledge, 1995). She has published on Indigenous writers Jeannette Armstrong, Beatrice Culleton, Keri Hulme, and Mudrooroo Narogin, and has just completed editing a special double issue of Canadian Literature on Thomas King.

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Editorial Reviews

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

--Globe and Mail


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

--Halifax Daily News

"... 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

"A good book, well worth having."

--Books in Canada

"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

Other titles by Margery Fee

Other titles by Janice McAlpine