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Recommended Guide: “Caps and Spelling”

My latest reference book purchases are The Canadian Press Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors, 16th Edition, and Caps and Spelling, 20th Edition, also published by Canadian Press. Although I have bought the stylebook before, Caps and Spelling is new to me, and I love it.

Test yourself: Which of these 12 items are rendered correctly, according to Canadian Press style?






Eastern Canada







Check again. According to Caps and Spelling, all but one are correct. Which one is wrong?

I would like e-zine to be wrong, since I prefer ezine. However, the incorrect item above is zipline. The correct rendering is zip line.

Which items surprised you? The word followup grabbed my attention. Caps and Spelling is my first–my first!–style guide to close up the term as an adjective and as a noun. Leave it to those progressive Canadian editors to take the leap! In truth, one of my American dictionaries lists followup as an option, but none of my style guides, until now.

If you write for a Canadian audience and want a straightforward, pocket-sized (if you have a large pocket) reference on Canadian spelling and capitalization, get Caps and Spelling. Because its purpose is to list rather than teach, the volume is streamlined and so efficient. I am happy to have finally learned about Caps and Spelling in its 20th edition.

It doesn’t seem appropriate to say “Happy Thanksgiving!” in this blog post, since my Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October (Caps and Spelling told me so). Nevertheless, I give thanks for all my blessings, and I wish a happy Thanksgiving–or simply a happy Thursday–to you!


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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

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