Dal Terms, Acronyms and Spelling

Common terms used at Dal:

  • advisor, not adviser
  • counsellor, not counselor
  • catalogue, not catalog
  • class work, not classwork
  • coursework, not course work
  • DalCard (no space, capital C)
  • enrolment, not enrollment
  • fundraising, not fund-raising
  • full-time, half-time, and part-time are hyphenated
  • honour with a ‘u,’ but honorary without
  • log on, login
  • multicampus
  • non-credit, not noncredit
  • non-degree, not nondegree
  • non-profit, not nonprofit
  • online
  • per cent, not percent
  • program, not programme
  • underway, not under way
  • university-wide, campus-wide, city-wide, province-wide, but nationwide
  • vice-president, vice-provost, vice-chancellor, vice-chair
  • well-being – hyphenate always
  • web, website, webmaster, home page, Internet


When describing Dalhousie graduates, alumni is the preferred plural form; only use alumnae (the feminine form) in historical reference. For a male individual, use alumnus. For a female individual, use alumna.

  • John Smith is a Dalhousie alumnus.
  • Jane Doe is a Dalhousie alumna.
  • John Smith and Jane Doe are Dalhousie alumni.
  • alum: an acceptable shortform of alumni

Varsity Sports

Acceptable usage:

  • The Dalhousie Tigers (formal)
  • Dal Tigers (casual)
  • The Tigers
  • Tigers hockey


  • Convocate is not a verb. Students graduate from the university at a ceremony called convocation.
  • A graduand is one about to receive a university degree.
  • A graduate is one who has received a university degree.


  • Spell out all acronyms on first reference and include the acronym in parentheses following the name. Afterwards, you can just use the acronym on the same page.
  • Do not assume that a reader understands an acronym that was featured earlier in a document or website. Readers may be scanning, skipping or—in the case of online—accessing the content through a number of different entry points (web search, links, etc.).

       Acronyms commonly used at Dal:

  • BSAC - Black Student Advising Centre
  • CS - Computer Science
  • CSC - Career Services Centre
  • DSES - Dalhousie Student Exchange Services
  • DSU - Dalhousie Student Union
  • FASS - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • ISD - International Students at Dal
  • LSC - Life Sciences Centre
  • OTN - Ocean Tracking Network
  • SUB - Student Union Building
  • RO - Registrar's Office
    *Note: It is strongly recommended the above terms always be spelled out.

Canada spells it:

  • centre, centred, centring
  • cheque (as a method of payment)
  • theatre
  • sulfur (scientific standard spelling)
  • pretence
  • grey (colour)
  • defence
  • practice (as a noun or adjective) and practise (as a verb)
  • organize

E.g. vs. i.e.

  • The abbreviation for exempli gratia is e.g., but it should be avoided. Use "for example" instead.
  • Use "that is" instead of i.e.
  • Use the vs. abbreviation for versus only in sports schedules and the names of court cases.