Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

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

indexes: personal names

When an article or preposition is part of an English name, it is alphabetized without inversion, e.g. de la Roche, Mazo; De Quincey, Thomas. Names beginning with Mac, Mc or M’ are alphabetized as if spelled Mac. Ignore the apostrophe in treating an Irish name such as O’Flynn; alphabetize it as if it were one unpunctuated word.

French surnames beginning with an article or a contraction of an article and a preposition are listed without inversion, e.g. Le Rouge, Gustave; Du Pont, Georges. Similarly, names beginning with d’ are generally not inverted, e.g. d’Arcy, Jules. There is no standard method for alphabetizing names beginning with de or de la. Adopt the personal preference of the individual concerned or the traditional presentation of his or her name, e.g. Balzac, Honoré de; La Fontaine, Jean de. Christian saints should be alphabetized by their given names, with an identifier added if necessary:

  • John, Saint
  • John Chrysostom, Saint
  • John of the Cross, Saint

The choice between Saint- and St- and between Sainte- and Ste- in personal names depends on the traditionally preferred presentation. When an abbreviated form is used, it should be alphabetized as if spelled out.

For detailed information on the presentation of English, French and foreign-language names, see the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.