Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. Within a few weeks, Writing Tips will no longer be available.

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

abbreviations: capitals and hyphens

In general, an abbreviation is capitalized or hyphenated if the unabbreviated word or words are so treated:

  • Lt.-Gov. (Lieutenant-Governor)
  • MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly)
  • UBC (University of British Columbia)

However, an abbreviation is also capitalized when it is made up of letters that are all (or mostly all) part of a single word, even though the full term is not capitalized:

  • ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone)
  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
  • ESP (extrasensory perception)
  • TV (television)

For rules governing the capitalization of acronyms and initialisms, see ABBREVIATIONS: ACRONYM AND INITIALISMS.