Copy Director

Don’t make a capital case out of “internet”

Let’s start the year off with style. Word style, to be precise.

Some say no detail is too small to be overlooked. But when you’re writing a marketing message, the devil can definitely be in those details. For instance, you may start wondering if “internet” is styled with an initial capital letter or not, or if “email” is hyphenated.

How do you decide?

At Tiziani Whitmyre, we consult authoritative dictionaries and stylebooks; search leading sites and news sources; check our clients’ own publications and papers. And we watch the wild and wonderful web itself, where millions of users worldwide “vote” by using the words and spelling that feel right to them.

Every so often, we survey the field, and combine what we find with our own judgment and experience. Then we determine the best choices to use in all the writing we do for our clients.

Because words — and the ways they’re styled — change constantly with use.

For example, it’s still “Internet” (with a capital “I”) according to the Chicago Manual of Style, Control Engineering, and the Washington Post, among others. But it’s now “internet” (no cap) for the Associated Press Stylebook 2016, the New York Times, CNET, and, among a growing majority of sources.

So at TW, we now recommend:

  • internet (exception: Internet of Things)

Following similar surveys, we also now recommend:

  • email
  • web; the web (but still World Wide Web)
  • webinar
  • web page
  • website

Displaying the latest word style may not be the most important part of your marketing message. But it subtly reassures the reader that you’re fully up to date — just like your product or service.

And that’s worth making a capital case about.