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.

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

biweekly, bimonthly, biannual

(A similar topic is discussed in French in the article BIHEBDOMADAIRE.)

Biweekly means either twice a week or every two weeks and can therefore create confusion for the reader. A similar problem occurs with bimonthly and biannually.

To ensure clarity, replace these ambiguous terms with the precise expressions "twice a week (or month or year)" or "every two weeks (or months or years)."

  • The meetings occur twice a week / every two weeks. (not biweekly)
  • We get paid twice a month / every two months. (not bimonthly)
  • We attend a family reunion twice a year / every two years. (not biannually)

When the adjective biannual means "twice a year," it can be replaced with semi-annual or twice-yearly; when it means "every two years," it can be replaced with biennial.

  • The semi-annual / twice-yearly (not biannual) reunion is always a favourite.

OR

  • The biennial (not biannual) reunion is always a favourite.

Note that no hyphen is used after the prefix bi-.