‘Internet’ doesn’t need a capital letter any more, says AP Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook, aka the ultimate style guide for US journalists, has decreed that we no longer need to capitalise the first letter of the word ‘internet’.

The latest edition of the Stylebook, out in June, will have 240 new or modified entries, but its new rules on this particular word have caught the attention of the Internet. Uh, I mean internet.

The official AP Stylebook Twitter account informed the world of the upcoming change on Saturday, so we can all start booking holidays for our shift-key-pressing fingers.

As with everything involving a) the internet and b) spelling and grammar, the new rule has garnered a lot of controversy, divided opinions, and caused arguments.

Some Web web users have pointed out that 'an internet' is a rather different thing from 'the Internet', and that the capitalisation exists for a reason - ditto with Web. They're proper nouns, say the rebels, and should be grammatically treated as such.

Seth Maxon of Slate said: "If we're to have standards for capping anything, it makes sense to cap the Internet. We capitalize nouns when specific ones are absolutely singular. Kanye West, Oklahoma, Lake Shore Drive, Hamilton, Saturn…"

Those voices seem to be outnumbered by the plethora of people who have been using lower-case 'internet' for ages anyway and feel vindicated by the new ruling. The staff at tech magazine Wired said: "There is no earthly reason to capitalize any of these words. Actually there never was."

After all, it's not uncommon for old proper nouns to lose their capital letter when they slip into more generic usage - like the grid, or a hoover, or some velcro.

Expect all your favourite US news sources to start de-capitalising the word as of 1 June.

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