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The Associated Press style guide will no longer capitalize 'internet'

This summer, many traditional media outlets will abandon a last vestige of old technology journalism: the capitalized “Internet.” The Associated Press has announced that its highly influential style guide will be updated this year to require “internet” be kept lowercase. The “web” will also be lowercase “in all instances.” Yes, that means the grammatical tyranny of the internet as a proper noun is nearly dead. The changes will go into effect on June 1st, when the AP publishes the 2016 edition of its Stylebook.

Many newspapers and websites — including this one — base their style guides on the AP. The Verge has never capitalized the internet, however. (As per our internal style guide: “internet, definitely not Internet.”)

The idea of treating the internet as a proper noun came about from the beginning of internet communications. The distinction is that the internet we know and use today is just one internet out of many possible internets. It just so happens that the internet we use is also called the internet. It’s like the Sun that we orbit and the sun of another solar system. In either case, with the AP now defecting in this fever-pitched grammatical battle, there will likely only be a few holdouts left carrying the banner of “the Internet.”


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