How to avoid embarrassing yourself at the grocery store (and use appropriate capitalization)
God, the United States, and the Internet are not frequent topics at our grocery store. However, while shopping recently, I saw a man venting at the clerk checking his groceries. I’m not sure what started his tirade, but it focused on politicians and the news media.
He paid for his groceries, then looked at the clerk and said, “You know, they treat the Internet with the same respect as God. That’s why they spell “Internet” with a capital “I?”
His last statement is obviously incorrect. However, I’m confident that he did not come to this conclusion on his own. He undoubtedly accepted this information from a person, news source, or publication he deems trustworthy. As a copy editor, I offer the following as a more rational perspective.
God, the United States, and the Internet
We capitalize these words because they are proper nouns. In other words, they name a particular person, place, or thing.
When you see “the “Internet” spelled with a capital “I,” it refers to the “thing” that hosts the World Wide Web (among other applications).
Furthermore, it isn’t always necessary to capitalize the word. One example would be using it as a common noun, such as “internet connection” or “internet users.”
Connecting ideas with credible facts
Sure, we all like to connect ideas that validate our views. Doing so gives us greater confidence when we share these views with others. Therefore, let’s connect ideas objectively with credible facts.
Internet, like any other word, is capitalized when used to begin a sentence.
Otherwise, when you see “the Internet” spelled with a capital “I,” it means nothing more than the appropriate capitalization of a proper noun.