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.

BC, BCE, Before Christ, Before the Christian Era, Before the Common Era

Both BC and BCE are placed after the year and are written in uppercase. They may be written with or without periods.

BC or B.C. means "Before Christ"—and therefore, before the year 0 (which was thought to be the year in which Christ was born, according to early but inaccurate calculations).

  • Julius Caesar invaded Britannia in 55 and 54 BC.
  • Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of most European languages, was spoken sometime between 4500 and 2500 B.C.

BCE or B.C.E. means "Before the Christian Era" or "Before the Common Era," with the latter being a more modern and inclusive version.

  • In approximately 1300 BCE, the I Ching was created in China.
  • The entire Italian peninsula had come under the control of Rome by 265 B.C.E.