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Style Guide

The following are just a few examples of suggestions for standardization, mainly for print publications and the Brescia web site.


Use a comma in a series of items after the second-last item and before the “and.” For example, “Brescia is known for its strong undergraduate courses, its diversity of programming, and its traditions.

Place commas and periods within the final quotation mark, not after. For example, “We live by the brand values expressed in the words compassion, student centred, invigorating, and empowering.”

Italicize all book, magazine, and exhibit titles. Use quotation marks for poems and articles.

Use proper typographers’ quotes instead of inch and foot marks.

Use a hyphen only when splitting a word over two lines; within sentences, use an em dash.  “This year we are asking that most donations be given in one area — unrestricted giving.”

Use one space only after periods and commas.

Place a comma before “which” in non-restrictive clauses (or those clauses that are not strictly necessary for the sentence to make sense). For example, “We hope to send a follow-up letter to alumnae, which will help boost the participation rate.”


Nouns that become proper nouns through use can be capped. For instance, “The Campaign was a successful one.”

We capitalize all subjects, despite the general rule that dictates that only subjects that are languages (i.e. English, French, and Spanish) be capitalized.


Use capital letters but no periods and no spaces between the letters in degrees

Generally designations do have periods. For example:


For provinces use the two-letter abbreviation, without periods, unless the province spelled out sounds better in the context of the sentence.

                        New Brunswick — NB
                        Nova Scotia — NS
                        Prince Edward Island – PE
                        Newfoundland and Labrador – NL
                        Ontario — ON
                        Quebec — PQ
                        Manitoba — MB
                        Saskatchewan — SK
                        Alberta — AB
                        British Columbia — BC
                        Northwest Territories — NWT
                        Nunavut — NU
                        Yukon — YT

For measures of length abbreviate without the use of periods or spaces. For example, “I live 2.8km from work.”

Abbreviate months when months are used in a specific date and use periods. Abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. and use periods.

In a tabular form use no periods for abbreviating months and abbreviate as follows:

                        January — Jan
                        February —  Feb
                        March — Mar
                        April — Apr
                        May — Jun
                        June — Jun
                        July — Jul
                        August — Aug
                        September — Sept
                        October — Oct
                        November — Nov
                        December — Dec

Abbreviate days of the week only when using them in a tabular form and without periods.

Do not use an apostrophe before the “s” in decades that are depicted in numerals. Instead use an inverted apostrophe before the year.  The final “s” is lower case. For example, “She graduated in the ’60s. We lived through the 1970s.”

To designate time (afternoon or morning), use p.m. and a.m. (lower case with periods).


We spell using Canadian conventions – “our” instead of “or” as in flavour, colour, and labour. Also we use “re” instead of “er” in centre and theatre.

We favour “program” instead of “programme” for efficiency of space.

E-mail is spelled with a hyphen.

Web site is, for Brescia, two words and both are lower case. For example, “We have a relatively big web site.”

Web site addresses are sometimes bracketed as are e-mail addresses, to avoid confusion. But if they are at the end of a sentence and not bracketed, they should not be followed by a period. A period at the end of an address might be inserted inadvertently by end users, which makes the URL non functional. The letters www can now be eliminated from most URLs.

We use “z” not “s” in verbs such as theorized, apologized, and capitalized.

Honorary has no “u.”

Although we use the Canadian spelling for most words, we spell “honor” like this to be consistent with The University of Western Ontario.

The word online does not take a hyphen.

Alumnae is plural for Brescia graduates. Alumna is female singular while alumnus is male singular. In casual situations, we do use the abbreviation alum when referring to one alumnus or alumna.

Bulletin Conventions

We bold the name of the person being identified in Class Notes and place their maiden name in brackets before their married name. For example, “Jill (Grainger) Best (’75) is now living in Toronto.”

We do not repeat the class year for an alumna if the class year has already been used as a heading in Class Notes.


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