Editing Canadian English: The Essential Canadian Guide Revised and Updated. 2nd ed.


258 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55199-045-8
DDC 427'.971




Edited by Catherine Cragg et al
Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is the editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Like the 1987 incarnation, this revised, updated, and long-awaited
edition of Editing Canadian English tackles the complexities of the
elusive Canadian style with grace, humor, and considerable skill. It
retains the basic structure of the previous edition—with chapters
entitled “Spelling,” “Compounds,” “Capitalization,”
“Abbreviations,” “Punctuation,” “French in English Context,”
“Canadianization,” “Avoiding Bias,” “Measurements,”
“Documentation,” and “Editors and the Law”—and concludes with
an annotated list of special terms and a thorough index.

The second edition improves on the first in several respects. The
material is more lucidly organized thanks to the adoption of a more
reader-friendly numbering system. A bolder cover and the addition of
boxed inserts (consisting of pertinent quotations and supplementary
material) have greatly enhanced the book’s visual appeal. The interior
design is more elegant than that used in the first edition.

The substantive changes reflect changes in practice that have occurred
since 1987. For example, the chapter on punctuation is much the same,
but the treatment of spelling reflects post–1987 changes in Canadian,
American, and British spelling preferences, as well as the recent
publication of three Canadian dictionaries (Gage, Nelson, and Canadian
Oxford). The chapter on avoiding bias has been refined and expanded to
reflect changing attitudes toward the use of nondiscriminatory language.
Much expanded are the chapters on two areas of rapid change:
documentation and legal aspects of editing. The chapter on editors and
the law reflects the recent amendments to Canadian copyright law, while
the documentation chapter includes matrixes for electronic documents.

In preparing the second edition, the authors heeded the response of
users of the first edition and maintained their nonprescriptive approach
to style and usage matters. Editing Canadian English, they note,
“rarely dictates but instead aims to help its users make sensible
editorial choices.” The book succeeds admirably in meeting that goal.
With luck, we won’t have to wait another 13 years before the third
edition of this indispensable reference work sees the light of day.


“Editing Canadian English: The Essential Canadian Guide Revised and Updated. 2nd ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 1, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8607.