Online tools and resources

Consult the French-language version of this page for resources in Canada's other official language.

Note: Most resource descriptions have been adapted or taken from the organizations' websites.

Bilingual tools

Robert & Collins (available online at no charge through the uOttawa library)

The Robert & Collins is a detailed, easy-to-use English-French / French-English bilingual dictionary. Both its French and English sections teem with proverbs, common expressions, scientific terms and place names; finally, thanks to its thousands of usage examples, the Robert & Collins helps you find the right preposition in a flash.

Termium (available online at no charge)

The government of Canada's terminology and linguistic data bank. More than 3.9 million terms and official names and titles in English, French and Spanish and in almost every field imaginable. Includes 15 writing tools, some English, some French.

Grand dictionnaire terminologique (available online at no charge)

The Office de la langue française du Québec's terminology and linguistic data bank. More than three million terms in roughly 200 scientific and technical fields.

ONTERM (available online at no charge)

This searchable data base for Ontario government terminology and information has everything from bilingual reference lists and official government names to bilingual glossaries (law, education, health, etc.) and geographic names.

Word Tailoring (available online at no charge)

Word Tailoring is a dictionary-style reference tool that allows you to access a wealth of information quickly and easily. With a few clicks, you can find a number of English equivalents for a given French word or phrase used in everyday or administrative writing. As these French keywords often have multiple meanings, Word Tailoring contains concise examples in both English and French for each equivalent to help you select the best possible translation for your context.

English dictionaries

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (available online at no charge)

This is our first source for spelling at Language Services. The Canadian Oxford combines coverage of international English with information on English as it is particularly used in Canada. Definitions are presented so that the meaning most familiar to Canadians appears first and foremost. It features 2,200 uniquely Canadian words and senses, 350 usage notes, 7,000 idiomatic expressions, 5,500 biographical entries, and over 5,600 place names.

The Oxford English Dictionary (available at no charge through the uOttawa library)

The OED covers words from across the English-speaking world, from North America to South Africa, from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean. It also offers the best in etymological analysis and in listing of variant spellings. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

English writing aids

Writing Tips (available online at no charge)

Writing Tips contains concise observations on and examples of English grammar, usage and style problems encountered daily by writers. Writing Tips explains modern-day Canadian usage in a straightforward and uncluttered manner. The examples used to illustrate these language problems reflect Canadian society, past and present.

The Chicago Manual of Style (available at no charge through the uOttawa library)

This is the bible of most academic and scientific publishers. If you're often called on to write or lay out learned publications or reports, you'll find answers to virtually all of your usage challenges in this extensive reference.

Other resources

Language Portal of Canada

The Language Portal of Canada showcases Canadian expertise in the area of language. It provides information about Canadian resources that deal with different aspects of language. It also offers free access to many online tools for writers, articles and writing tips, word games, exercises and much more.

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