The following is a brief reference for frequently misspelled or misused words, and words specific to TRU. It follows the Canadian Oxford Dictionary with a few exceptions.
Remember to follow Canadian spelling for “-our” words: colour, favour, behaviour, labour rather than color, etc.; and for “-tre” words: centre, fibre, metre, litre rather than center, etc.
1980s, the ‘80s, 86ers (see also Plurals vs. possessives)
a lot (not alot)
alumna (female graduate), alumni (group of graduates), alumnus (male graduate)
co-operative education, co-op
co-requisite, but prerequisite
curriculum (singular), curricula (plural)
defence and defenceless, but defensive, defensible
enrol (not enroll), enrolment , but enrolled, enrolling (double “l” before a vowel)
grade point average, GPA
health care (noun), but health-care (compound adjective—see Punctuation: hyphens)
homepage (TRU’s homepage is tru.ca)
honour, honourable, but honorary, honorific
humour, but humorous
Indigenous (capitalized), but indigenizing, indigenization
lay off (verb), layoff (noun)
letter of permission
litre, L (see also Numbers: Measurements)
live-stream, live-streaming (verb), livestream (noun)
log in (verb), login (noun)
master’s degree, but Master of Arts (see also Capitalization)
prerequisite, but co-requisite
Secwépemc, but Secwepemctsín, Secwepemcúlucw
tenure track (noun), but tenure-track (modifier, e.g. a tenure-track position)
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops Indian Band)
web (but World Wide Web), web page, web server
WolfPack (not Wolfpack), also the ‘Pack
worldwide (but World Wide Web)
Do you mean...
affect, or effect?
affect: (verb) produce an effect on, influence; (of a disease) attack; move, touch the feelings of
effect: (noun) the result or consequence of an action; efficacy; an impression produced on a spectator; (verb) bring about, accomplish; cause to exist or occur
biannual, or biennial?
biannual: (adjective) occurring twice a year
biennial: (adjective) taking place every other year; (of a plant) living or lasting for two years; (noun) a plant that takes to years to grow from seed to fruition; an event celebrated or taking place every two years
complement, or compliment?
complement: (noun) something that completes; one of two things that go together; (verb) complete; form a complement to (the scarf complements her dress)
compliment: (noun) a spoken or written expression of praise; an act or circumstance implying praise; (verb) congratulate, praise; present as a mark of courtesy
e.g., or i.e.?
e.g.: an abbreviation of the Latin exempli gratia meaning "for example"
i.e.: an abbreviation of the Latin id est meaning "that is"
its, or it's?
its (pronoun, see Plurals vs. possessives)
it’s (contraction of “it is”)
principal, or principle?
principal: (adjective) first in rank or importance; main, leading; the original sum invested or lent; (noun) a head, ruler or superior; the head of some schools, colleges and universities; the leading performer in a concert, play, etc.; a lawyer who supervises an articling student
principle: (noun) a fundamental truth or law as the basis of reasoning or action (moral principles); a personal code of conduct, such rules of conduct; a general law in physics etc.
stationary, or stationery?
stationary: (adjective) remaining in one place, not moving; not meant to be moved, not portable
stationery: (noun) writing paper; writing materials such as paper, envelopes, office supplies, etc.
that, or which?
that: (as a restrictive relative clause, or defining relative clause) gives essential information by narrowing it down, as in "this presentation is based on the research that I completed last summer"; not just any research, but last summer's specifically; note there is a tendency in modern usage to omit "that" in this kind of clause: "based on the research I completed last summer"
which: (as a non-restrictive relative clause) gives non-essential information, as in "this presentation is based on my research, which I completed last summer"; the information that comes after which is considered extra information that could be left out without affecting sentence structure or meaning; note a comma always precedes which in a non-restrictive clause