Technical Style Guide




As a technical writer, I need to be consistent in my use of technical terms, so I have my own little style guide to record how I write various technical names and words – it means I have to think about it only once rather than agonise each time. This is an online version of it, in case anyone else finds it useful.  Comments welcome.


E-mail, never email.  English conventionally hyphenates shortened forms: compare with H-bomb and X-ray.  Write all elements of an e-mail address in lower case.  An e-mail address should not be shortened to e-mail as in the incorrect fill in your e-mail on the form.

The Internet

The Internet when referring to the public, global IP network (because that's its name, a proper noun).  Compare with the Royal Mail, a postal network, and the royal mail, the post sent by the Queen.

An internet

An internet short for internetwork - any network of networks (e.g. linked LANs in a company) which uses the Internet Protocol, IP.  It's unclear whether a non-IP network could technically be an internet, but such usage would certainly be confusing and should be avoided.  Such a network is probably best simply called a network or by its name, if it has one.

A private, in-company internet is often called an intranet.

World Wide Web

World Wide Web because that's how Tim Berners-Lee, its inventor, prefers it.  He doesn't care for, or use, Worldwide Web, World-wide Web, or any differently capitalised variants, but is happy with WWW or (in some contexts) www as a shortened form.  I feel the Web is acceptable also.

Web site

Web site and Web page, but increasingly website and webpage, which I am starting to use on occasion.  But the hybrid capitalisations WebPage, Webpage, WebSite and Website are to be avoided.

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