Re: Would you capitalize "internet?"

Subject: Re: Would you capitalize "internet?"
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 10:45:01 PST

> Would you capitalize internet?

> I understand that people view the net as an entity or some sorts, or as a
> proper noun. However, we used to capitalize email, too. Do you think the net
> has become accepted enough to warrant lower case?

I would capitalize it. It's certainly much more of a proper noun than
"e-mail," but beyond that, it's still a new word (despite all of the
hype) and the capital letter helps, if a fairly unobtrusive way, to
signal to readers that they're not reading about such old staples as
rocks and trees and clubs, and might want to slow down a tad.

I scan pretty rapidly, and I know I appreciate such clues. Making
reading easier is, IMHO, much more critical than merely obeying some
rule applied in the abstract. The rules tell us what educated readers
will probably expect; we bend them when we have a strong sense that the
majority of our readers might be inconvenienced (that is, slowed down)
by the rigid application of some rule.

Where I part company with some writers on this list is that I'm
unwilling to throw in some uncommon phrase because of any of the
following reasons:

a. I like it myself.

b. Readers SHOULD know what it means.

c. I feel like pioneering new methods of communication.

-- In technical writing or journalishn, that is. If I label it poetry,
or word jazz, or lyrics to a song, anything goes, because the reader
knows what theyre getting into, and they didn't show up looking for
specific information.


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