Years ago I learned that Internet always starts with a capital letter.
However, I'm not sure anymore because I read internet several times.
My favorite dictionary, dict.cc, shows Internet this way:
dict.cc | internet | Wrterbuch Englisch-Deutsch
As you can see, it also starts with a capital letter, but strangely it doesn't start with a capital letter if it's linked to another word, like:
What do you think?
The 2007 AP Stylebook (the version on my bookshelf) does capitalize it, but I wouldn't be surprised if a more recent version allows it to be lower-cased now.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
A linguist can no doubt tell you more, but, as far as I am aware, there is a general drift towards simplicity as word usage becomes more widespread - what I mean is words gradually losing stylistic distinctions as they become assimilated into the language, eg loss of capitals, loss of italics, loss of hyphens. Compare:
- how common Latin terms lose their italics over time:
eg 'vice versa', which is now more usually 'vice versa'
- how common noun+noun phrases merge over time:
'time frame' to 'time-frame' to 'timeframe' (I'd say we're currently in the transitional stage between the hyphenated word and single word)
- how prefixes lose their hyphens over time:
'e-mail' to 'email' (again, we're still in the transitional stage)
With capitals, I think this is common where there is a 'loss of ownership'; once upon a time some institute - I don't know who exactly without checking - created a way of linking computers in different locations and they gave this the name 'the Internet'. It was 'their' Internet, but now it is everyone's 'internet'. Having said that, one still reads 'Internet' sometimes, so I suppose the word is still not fully over the transitional stage.
Last edited by bertietheblue; 14-Jun-2010 at 18:17. Reason: typo
I think Bertie's point about ownership is good and also the argument for using Internet is weakened by the fact that it is often used synonymously with the web, so people are actually not referring to the Internet/internet when they use the word. A few years ago, people were saying that email had to be uncountable because mail is unccountable, but that argument was completely ignored- people will use language the way they want to. I write internet because it saves hitting the shift key and I really don't see it as a proper noun- it's a thing not the name of a thing to me.
(1) After reading your question, I happened to see an article entltled
"The Fight to Save the Internet" in "Parade" magazine, which is put
inside dozens of American newspapers every Sunday. I guess millions
of people read it.
(2) The article mentions the Internet five times -- always capitalized
(no matter used in a nominal or adjectival sense):
private Internal service ....
For example, Internet providers ....
insuring openness, the Internet could be ....
We need an open Internet, ...
Public interest groups, Internet wonks, and ....
(P. S. "Wonk" is a slang term that means someone who is
really!!! really !!!!! really !!!!!!!! interested in something. Be careful
before you use it. Sometimes it has a meaning that may be a bit
***** Thank you *****