Grammar geek. Nerd. Dork. I’ve been called it all, but frankly, I’m proud of these nicknames. Proper grammar and punctuation are crucial to many aspects of the professional world, and I welcome any opportunity to share a few grammar tips to those willing to learn. Whether it’s applying for a job, submitting a project to a client, or simply creating a report for your boss, grammar usage can hugely reflect who you are and how capable you are, professionally.
Remember when we used actual dictionaries and encyclopedias? If you were born after 1990, probably not. Now, all you have to do to look something up is type it into Google. You don’t even need to go to the trouble of typing in “google.com” into your browser; most browsers come equipped with a tiny white box on the toolbar where you can enter what you’re searching for. Easy as that. But along with this newfangled technology comes a whole mess of new terms; and consequently, a whole mess of new terms to use or spell incorrectly. Considering I spend a good portion of any given day proofing, I’ve come across them all. Here are a few commonly misused terms of this digital generation that tend to trip people up:
At Swanson Russell, and many other companies that use words to write things for a living, we use AP (Associated Press) Style. The correct form according to the AP Stylebook is “email,” though “e-mail” does pop up from time to time. It’s forgivable, but not for long. Drop that hyphen!
Both uses are correct, but when to use which form is pretty important. When referring to that all-knowing, all-powerful, intangible “Internet,” you capitalize the first letter. For example, “Utilizing digital media for the Internet will benefit clients from all backgrounds.” When using “internet” as a common term (such as, “My internet is so slow from all these cat videos I’ve been downloading.”), keep it lowercase.
Anything but one-word, all-lowercase “website” is pretty antiquated at this point. If your computer still has an attached keyboard, black screen, and blinking green letters, I suppose you’re excused to use whatever version of the term you’d like. But, I suggest using “website.” It’s the easiest form to use, too – you don’t even have to hit the shift key or the spacebar.
If you’re talking about a spider web, leave it lowercase. If you’re referring to the shortened version of “World Wide Web,” even in the middle of a sentence, capitalize the “w.” Simple as that!
This one is pretty easy to differentiate, though it’s pretty commonly misused. “Log in” is a verb, and “login” should be used as a noun or adjective. So, you would use your login to log in on the login screen of the Kenny Loggins fan page.
Though I’ve only outlined a few commonly misused terms on the Internet (or is it internet?), there are plenty more out there. A few resources I highly suggest using are Grammar Girl and of course, the AP Stylebook. Either that, or just type in any word or phrase you’re confused about into that tiny white box in your browser that we talked about. Your potential employer, client or boss will be impressed by your knowledge and attention to detail, and you’ll be seen as more educated on current terms and trends used today.
If you found any typos in this post, want more grammar tips or would just like to grab a cup of coffee and discuss the Oxford comma, leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com.