Tricky Words

The following is a list of tricky words, phrases to watch, and other Queen's anomalies.

  • academic year, not Academic Year
  • adviser, not advisor
  • alumnus/alumna/alumni/alumnae. All refer to those who matriculate at the university. Do not capitalize any form.
  • alumnus (m. sing., generic pl.); alumna (f. sing.); alumni (m. pl., generic pl.); alumnae (f. pl.)
  • bachelor’s degree, not bachelors degree
  • curriculum (s.); curricula (pl.)
  • database, not data base
  • dependant (n.); dependent (adj.)
  • doctor, not Dr. (unless used as a title with a surname)
  • emeritus/emerita/emeriti
  • professor emeritus (m.); professor emerita (f.); professors emeriti (pl.)
  • extracurricular, not extra-curricular
  • GPA, not G.P.A.
  • health care (n.); health-care (adj.); with the exception of the Queen's program Master of Science in Healthcare Quality
  • i.e. (use “that is”)
  • master’s degree, not master degree or masters degree
  • okay, not OK or o.k. or Ok
  • pediatrics, not paediatrics (Queen's style is to avoid the digraph ae whenever possible.)
  • post-doctoral, not postdoctoral or post doctoral
  • post-graduate diploma, not post graduate diploma
  • post-secondary, not postsecondary
  • program, not programme
  • questionnaire
  • resumé
  • set up (v.); setup (n.)
  • task force, not taskforce
  • term, not semester
  • thank you (verb phrase); thank-you (noun or adjective)
  • thesis, theses
  • X-ray, not X-Ray or x-ray

Avoid archaic language, such as thus or alas.

For attribution, use present tense in feature articles (he says, she says) and past tense in time-sensitive news articles (he said, she said).