You may remember Kristina's post about style guides. Style guides make writers happy because they can follow the rules the first time, and they make businesses happy because the writers are speaking the language. And hammering out style details at the beginning saves needless time and expense to clean up these small details at the end of a large project.
As such, we writers have regular discussions about troubling words or troublesome tasks of cleaning up misunderstandings about capitalization, em dashes, and the like. Here's one of the latest, when we officially decided not to initial cap “internet” anymore, whether it’s used as a noun or an adjective.
As I recall, the decision came about something like this:
Angie 1.0 (me): Hey, everyone! Should we initial cap internet when we use it as a noun?
Angie 2.0: I don’t like capitalizing Internet. Or Web. Or InterWebs.
Katie: Yeah! I hate capping things.
Meghan: But didn’t we agree to initial cap “web” when we use it as a noun?
Angie 2.0: When did we agree to that?
Angie 1.0: Didn’t you get that email?
Meghan: Wired magazine doesn’t initial cap internet. And isn’t the rule about initial capping it in the process of changing?
Angie 2.0: And Wired is on the cutting edge of that change.
Angie 1.0: Right. Eventually nobody will initial cap internet.
Erin: Once the dictionaries catch up.
Meghan: Yes, let’s be on the cutting edge of change!
Angie 1.0: Remember that movie The Net with Sandra Bullock?
Erin: Wasn’t that about identity theft on the internet?
Angie 2.0: Yeah, something like that. Do we have to initial cap “Net” when we use it as a noun?
Katie: We are NOT using “the Net.” Under any circumstances.
A quick perusal of a few industry blogs revealed an inconsistent style on initial capping internet. So we turned to Wired for some guidance. In 2004, it declared that on its pages internet and web (and net) would not be initial capped anymore. We’re happy to officially join the trend—since we believe it will become a rule anyway.
It’s definitely becoming a rule in our house style guide.