Capitalization Conundrum: “Internet” Vs. “internet”
The rules of English capitalization can sometimes leave writers bemused, especially when it comes to recognizing which words or situations call for them. In the realm of technological terms, one such case that elicits puzzlement is the word “Internet”. Is it “internet” or “Internet”? Although it might seem like an insignificant detail, the usage has been widely debated among linguists, style guide experts, and tech savants over the years.
1. The Uppercase Approach:
In the early stages of its public existence, the term “Internet” was almost exclusively capitalized. After all, it referred to one specific thing: the global network of interconnected computers. It was a proper noun, just like names of people and places. The capital “I” in “Internet” signified the singularity and distinctiveness of this worldwide web.
2. The Move Towards Lowercase:
However, fast forward a few years, and you see a noticeable shift in this trend. Many publications and writers have started favoring the lowercase “internet”. The logic behind this alteration is that the internet has become such a ubiquitous and generic part of our lives – like electricity or television – and doesn’t refer to one specific network. Therefore, “internet” doesn’t need to be capitalized anymore. After all, it isn’t the only network of networks anymore.
3. Current Consensus:
Today, both “Internet” and “internet” are in use, but the tide has significantly shifted towards the lowercase “internet”. Major language regulators and style guides like the Associated Press and the Chicago Manual of Style have recommended the lowercase usage. While some sticklers for tradition still prefer the capitalized “Internet,” lowercase “internet” seems to be winning the popular vote among users and publications.
4. Bottom Line:
When you use the term in your writing, stick with the style that best aligns with your or your publication’s preferred style guide or internal style regulations. The key, as always, lies in maintaining consistency throughout the text.
The “Internet” versus “internet” case illustrates that language is always evolving, whether driven by technological progress, sociocultural changes, or influential entities like style guides and dictionaries. As the internet continues advancing and permeating our lives, the language associated with it will undoubtedly continue evolving.
“How Do I Know Whether to Capitalize the Word Internet?” Scribendi. https://www.scribendi.com/advice/should_i_capitalize_internet.en.html
“Oxford English Dictionary Settles ‘internet’ Versus ‘Internet’ Capitalization Battle.” Public Radio International. https://www.pri.org/stories/oxford-english-dictionary-settles-internet-versus-internet-capitalization-battle
“AP Style Change: Spell Internet and Web lowercase.” AP. https://about.ap.org/announcements/ap-style-change-spell-internet-and-web-lowercase/