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General Guidance on Style, Grammar, and Usage

The purpose of Archivaria is to educate, explore, and stimulate through the communication of ideas and information. Therefore, the writing must be clear, correct, and easy to read. Indeed, the more complicated or abstract the ideas, the greater the requirement for direct and unpretentious prose. Acronyms should be used sparingly, technical terms defined in simple words, and jargon avoided wherever possible. Authors should also avoid unsuitable statements concerning ethnicity and race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Constructive and respectful critiques are welcome, but authors should refrain from personal attacks or statements that harm the reputation of individuals, groups or organizations.

There are many good reference books on the rules of grammar. Authors can find a chapter on grammar in the Chicago Manual of Style. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is also useful.

A and An before Vowels and H

Use a rather than an before words that begin with vowels or h and have a consonant sound (y/h/w ), e.g., a eulogy, a historical, a historian, a hotel.

Use an only before words with a vowel sound, e.g., an LSAT exam, an MP, an hour ago, an honour, an heir, an archivist.


Use more than instead of over (e.g., more than 100 pages)

Neither John nor Linda’s efforts …

Avoid writing “This essay attempts to explore” or “This paper discusses.” Instead, use the word article because the work will be a published article.

Keep in mind the international readership. In the text, include place names on first reference to help readers situate institutions that might not be familiar outside Canada. For example, Simon Fraser University should, on first reference, be Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia. For universities that have a major city in the name, there is no need to add the province (follow the CMOS rules for which cities do not need to be followed by a province/territory/state). Therefore, write University of Toronto and University of London, but Western University, London, Ontario.

In text, on first reference, include the spelled-out provinces/territories/states after the names of cities (if relevant) and towns. (While CMOS prefers postal code abbreviations in text as well as in notes, Archivaria uses postal code abbreviations only in notes). Follow CMOS rules about which cities do not need to be followed by a province/state.

In footnotes, Canadian provinces/territories and American states are abbreviated using the two-letter postal abbreviations (e.g., ON, NS; MI, CA); see the lists of abbreviations in CMOS. Likewise, Australian states are abbreviated in footnotes (NSW).