Do You Capitalize The Word “Internet” In A Sentence?


do you capitalize internet

The question of whether to capitalize or not to capitalize the word ‘internet’ raises a lot of controversy and debate among reference guides, grammarians, and linguistics magazines. You simply need to understand the technical distinction between an internet and the Internet.

Historically, the word “internet” was capitalized as it was first introduced as a proper noun, and was to be capitalized when used as one. However, in the past few decades, the trend has changed as people tend to use it as a general term and prompted the need to lowercase it.

Going by general rules of capitalization, the word ‘internet’ should only be capitalized if used as a proper noun. Some people believe that the word should be capitalized, while others think there is no earthly reason to capitalize it.

WWW sign with hand

Definition of “Internet”

Most dictionaries define the internet or Internet as a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the internet protocol suite known as IP to communicate between devices and networks.

Another popular definition is a network of networks that comprises public, private, business, government, and academic networks of local to global scope linked by a vast array of electronic, optical, and wireless networking technologies.

The word was first discovered in the 1970s, denoting a computer network connecting more than one small network.

Examples:

  • Luckily today, we can all use our smartphones to connect to the internet.
  • He found out about the terrorist attacks from the internet.
  • She met her husband through the internet on one of those online dating sites.
  • If you didn’t carry packed lunch, you could always order online because you can access the internet.
  • How our children are interacting with the internet today will determine whether they pass or fail their examinations.
  • If you still feel you need more information, you can look it up on the internet.
  • The university now offers courses on how to use the internet, which can also be done online.

When Should You Capitalize The Word “Internet?”

There is really no big reason for capitalizing unless being used as a proper noun in a sentence. The capitalization rules are very clear; capitalize proper nouns, which are the official names of people, places, objects, or events. The internet doesn’t fall under any of these.

Originally, it was capitalized to differentiate an internet-any network of interconnected computers and the internet, which is the global network that anyone can access. Today, the word internet is a ‘generic’ term for communication medium. Since the 2016 announcement by the AP stylebook, the trend across most styles has been to lowercase the word. Let’s look at what the debaters have to say about capitalizing the ‘internet.’

For Capitalizing

There are many reasonable arguments in favor of capitalizing the word ‘internet.’ Many people think and feel that ‘internet’ is a proper noun and should be treated as so. Others claim that it is best if it was left capitalized from the beginning as most people are already used to capitalizing it. The New York Times, the Communications of the ACM and Time and the Associated Press capitalize it.

Some people also feel that ‘internet’ refers to a place in a way, which is also the reason why we capitalize the words Venus, Mars and Jupiter. This argument further deepens how we use the word ‘internet’ because, in most cases, we are referring to a particular, single institution, which actually makes it a proper noun. Those who counter the opinion argue that it is not a real place that one can go, and that’s why they believe it should be used interchangeably.

There is also a popular stand that if the article ‘the’ were removed, capitalization would be imminent. For instance, we don’t say the God, the Mars, or the Venus.

Examples:

  • The Internet was created to connect all of us remotely and make the world a smaller place to navigate.
  • We only have one Internet, just as we believe we have one God, and that’s why we cannot exhaust the definitions of how the Internet works.
  • Americans may soon be able to offer liver or kidneys over the Internet if a new president gets his way.
  • The judge also permitted the distribution of the incriminating video evidence to the general public via the Internet.

For Decapitalizing

A significant percentage of users are for decapitalization of the word ‘internet.’ If the word can go onto the notes without the article ‘the,’ then there would be no need to decapitalize it. Other parties also believe that since we don’t capitalize the word ‘universe,’ which enables us to exist, then there is no need to capitalize ‘internet ‘either. The majority have one argument–that the ‘internet’ has become too commonly used to be capitalized. Most people simply refer to the internet as a standard or general term.

Examples:

  • How can we complete assignments with such a poor internet connection?
  • The fact that I can use the internet from just about anywhere in my house is fantastic.
  • Children should be taught on how to correctly use the internet for their own moral and academic good.

internet word spelled with mouse cable

The “Internet” as a Proper Noun

The main reason we should capitalize on the internet is that it can be used as a proper noun. We also capitalize on the word if it appears at the beginning of a sentence. Despite all this noise, ‘internet’ is still regarded as a proper noun as it is a unique name thing. When it was first introduced, everyone used to uppercase it like the name of a specific place (e.g., MT Kilimanjaro, Miami Beach, etc.). A lot of technical writing also requires the capitalization of unique words.

Capitalizing this word also depends on the dialect; most major American and Canadian publications prefer to capitalize ‘internet.’ Therefore, it is safe to say that uppercasing it is more common in American English than in other dialects. However, there is room for choice and preference. Some of the uppercase examples include:

  • She checked the Internet for advice.
  • Always fact-check your work before submitting it because the Internet is full of contradictory resources.
  • Education today majorly relies on the resources uploaded on the Internet.
  • If you decide to capitalize on the Internet, it’s advisable to use the same rule throughout the document.

The “Internet’ as a Common Noun

As we already saw, the internet was initially used as a proper noun. While this is still acceptable today, the word’s general use makes it more of a common noun than a proper noun. It is a set of interconnected networks. When we define or refer to interconnected networks in general, we do not need to capitalize it because we refer to a common noun.

In simple words, while the internet is simply the internet, and not THE only internet. Therefore, you are unlikely to need the common term ‘internet’ in your daily life, but if you are involved with computers in your studies or work, just don’t capitalize it unless you are referring to the ‘Internet.’

Examples:

  • The internet is full of scammers, be careful what you share there.
  • She doesn’t talk much as she is always glued to her phone, checking things on the internet.
  • Did you know that the internet is also an adjective?

The “Internet” as an Adjective

The word internet can also be used as an adjective in sentences. When used as an adjective, we do not use uppercase. 

Here are some examples

  • His internet connection just dropped out again.
  • My internet speed is always the same every day.

Here, the word ‘internet, modifies the nouns ‘connection’ and ‘speed’ meaning that we have used it as an adjective. In such a case, we do not capitalize on it.

Synonyms of “Internet”

  • Network
  • Net
  • Cyberspace

Other “Internet”  Sentence Examples

  • The internet is an information superhighway.
  • Children should be educated on the proper ways to use the internet with their electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Wispent Internet Solutions offers various critical services as related to sharing of data and information.
  • The world is changing and the only way to keep up with it is by using the internet for knowledge purposes.
  • Should the internet be free?

globe representing internet connection

Final Thoughts

It is no longer uncommon to decapitalize words that entered the language as unique entities but ended up getting decapitalized along the way. Others were used as separate words, but today are hyphenated or condensed as single words. Such changes happen when there is a wide usage of a word. Words in the technology domain keep changing and evolving and, in most cases, end up getting capitalized or shorted as they enter common usage. Some good examples of words that were decapitalized include email, homepage, and website.

The ‘internet’ is also headed in the same direction where most people believe is decapitalization. However, the delay in decapitalization is caused by the fact that ‘internet’ can be used validly as a proper noun, though most people are already writing it in lowercase. We hope this guide helps you better understand how to write the word ‘internet ‘in your sentences.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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