The Associated Press, that staunch bastion of the rigid strictures of journalistic will, has officially bent to the will of this army of sniveling, red-eyed bloggers. After holding out for decades, the AP announced on Saturday that it would no longer require the word “internet” to be capitalized in its stylebook, which most large publications follow with great diligence.
The giveaway, say linguists, is that pesky little determiner that usually accompanies the word internet. ‘We use ‘the’ when we talk about the internet, and that perpetuates the usage of the uppercase,’ said Katherine Connor Martin, the head of U.S. English Dictionaries at Oxford University Press. It’s the difference between an internet and the Internet. The word’s origins date back to the 1970s, when an ‘inter-network’ was just a collection of smaller networks that communicated using the same protocols. Functionally, the internet of today is just the largest example of an internet—which, incidentally, means that the word entered our vocabulary in lowercase.
There are some members of the Establishment, however, who cannot and will not see reason. The fuddy-duddies New York Times, which has its own style guide, continues to so chaffingly use the word “Internet,” and it’s not clear whether they will stop.
As any blogger who has been using the word in its decapitalized state for years knows, it is an idiotic and nonsensical thing to capitalize the word “internet,” as if it were some holier-than-thou proper noun, and it must stop now. For the love of the World Wide Web, just don’t do it!