Internet vs. internet: The Question of the Capital I

Internet vs. internet: The Question of the Capital I image upper case IInternet vs. internet: The Question of the Capital ITo capitalize or lowercase the word “internet/Internet” has long since been a debate. Some websites insist on the uppercase – as does Microsoft Word – while others prefer an improper noun to take its place. But which version is correct? And why is this word spending so much time on how to spell this pastime?

According to the AP Stylebook – a form of all-knowing text-related subjects to print and (many) online publications, the big I is correct. Not only do they bold the proper version of the word, AP dedicates an entire page and a half as to explaining why, as well as various alternative options. (For instance e-mail and World Wide Web.)

Getting to the Basics

In a nutshell, the fact that the Internet is THE internet, knights it with the title of a proper noun. While there are still other internets floating about, the big and prominent one is usually the subject of conversation. The same is said of the Holocaust, the Tea Party (political affiliation or Boston reference), the Great War, or the First Amendment (or Second, or Third). The same also goes for titles – for instance a person can be president, but when talking about he or she, they are President Last Name.

On the opposite end, proper nouns can also be dethroned into everyday words – lower-cased letter and all. This most commonly happens with brand names, whose products are so popular that all versions are then called by that name. Such as xerox, kleenex, band-aids, frisbee, and scotch tape.

And while the Internet may not have as colorful as a past, it’s still correct to give this word the respect it deserves. Unless talking about a random string of nets or some other back-end collection, a capital I is the way to go.

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