Please stop capitalising the i in ‘internet’

Posted on 23 February 2011


In English, the only nouns that get capitalised are proper nouns. Place names like streets and countries, names of organisations, names and titles of people, trademarks and brand names, titles of books and magazines, names of TV and radio shows.

The internet is none of these things. It’s not a place, it’s not a publication, it’s not a company, it’s not a trademark, it’s not a brand name. It is a medium. Maybe when it was first invented, it was a specific tool that basically only did one thing so capitalising it made sense. Plus it was new. Humans are notoriously weird about things that are new.

(For example, I’ve recently moved to a new city and I don’t mind telling you that I’m pretty weird just now.)

Now, though, come on. It does hundreds of different things every nanosecond. Everyone is well aware of what it is and isn’t. Capitalising its i is like saying

‘I’m just going to listen to the Radio and then I will call you back on my Telephone before I settle down to read my Newspaper’.

See that cringey-amusment you’re experiencing? That’s what I get whenever I see someone has written about ‘the Internet’.

Image credit: ‘Tagging Maldives Style’ by Nattu under a Creative Commons Attribution licence