Re: Web vs. web?

Subject: Re: Web vs. web?
From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:43:18 -0500

But sometimes I use the terms as proper nouns, and sometimes not.

When I refer to the Web, I'm not talking generically about any old set
of linked hypermedia documents. I'm referring to a particular entity by
name. It isn't because there is only one. In fact, the case for it being
a proper noun is stronger if you use a definition of "web" that allows
multiple instances. When I say "the document is on the Web" the reader
knows I'm talking about THAT web, the World Wide Web, not some little
web that my workgroup uses for project documents. In fact, I often DO
say "<document> is on the Web" to indicate that some document has been
moved from a staging web to the World Wide Web, and sometimes say it's
"on a test web" to indicate that it is on a server in a way that acts
very much like the World Wide Web, but isn't.

I would weaken my argument as well, by saying that "sky" is logically
proper noun, and it's non-proper-noun status is traditional and not an
example of the general grammar. But the usage does not confuse the
reader, because there is only one. If there were a way that I could have
a separate little sky of my own, I would have to be careful to let
people know whether I meant that a particular star was visible in my
sky, or in the Sky.

mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
Home: nax -at- execpc -dot- com

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Max Bygrave [SMTP:bygravem -at- INTUITIVE -dot- CO -dot- UK]
>Sent: Friday, April 03, 1998 9:47 AM
>Subject: Re: Web vs. web?
>I have to disagree with the view that the internet or web should have a
>capitalised initial on the grounds (essentially) that it is a proper noun.
>The fact that -- at the moment -- there is only one internet/web does not
>make it a proper noun; ultimately there is scope for more internets/webs.
>More importantly, even if you argue that there can never be more than one
>internet/web (because all equivalents or alternatives by their nature become
>part of the original), that still doesn't make it a proper noun.
>The example I always use at work when stating my case is that there is only
>one sky, and (on this planet) there can only ever be one sky. Nobody ever
>capitalises "sky" though. The reason? Nouns of which there is only one
>instance are not necessarily exclusive describers of a single unique item.
>While the item they describe may be -- at the moment -- single and unique,
>their meaning does not in any way address that uniqueness. Therefore, those
>nouns are not proper.
>To completely destroy any credibility I may have had, I would go on to say
>that the only reason there is even the merest suggestion that either internet
>or web should start with a capital letter is that, in general, people who
>were grammatically 'unsound' used and accepted capitalised versions without
>giving them any thought. The capitalisation of these words is, in my view,
>simply traditional.

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