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.


Used as an adjective, bread-and-butter is hyphenated. This expression has various meanings:

  • providing for the basic necessities of life
    • I hope to succeed as a writer; selling shoes is just my bread-and-butter job.
  • basic; vital or essential
    • In the Speech from the Throne, the Governor General of Canada spoke of bread-and-butter issues such as jobs and housing.
  • solid, dependable
    • As the highest scorer, Sarah has been the bread-and-butter player for her team this year.
    • Sales from the company’s bread-and-butter products helped it get through the recession.
  • thank-you (in reference to a note or letter)
    • Mark wrote his cousins a bread-and-butter letter to thank them for their hospitality.