Should I spell ‘internet’ with a capital ‘i’?

Should I spell ‘internet’ with a capital ‘i’?





Should I spell ‘internet’ with a capital ‘i’?


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

Proper nouns usually come with capital letters. Think of your name, countries, political parties and hundreds of other categories.

In theory, we should spell the internet as ‘the Internet’. There is only one internet, after all. (Same goes with world wide web, for that matter.)

So why don’t we? 

A few publications and people do. But it is not as common as it used to be.

Some publications led the way.

The Economist, with its ever-excellent style guide, usually handles these matters well.

Elsewhere, I blogged about working on a publication which in the late 1990s changed from using ‘Internet’ to ‘internet’ one day.

Why would we break a rule and change? It felt right and still does.
So the Collective Content style is ‘internet’. Even if we speak about the internet.

Our advice more generically is simple:

  • Take your cues from elsewhere
  • Err on the side of what’s considered right
  • Allow for exceptions (because nothing in these matters is ever set in stone)
  • Most importantly – be consistent.

First in an occasional series on grammar and style.

*photo credit: Mr. Mystery via photopin cc

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