Sunday, July 8, 2012

Consistency equals professionalism

As a book editor, I’ve recently encountered several technological terms that I see every day, but wasn’t sure how to capitalize. I’m sad to say that I spent more time than I would like to admit researching whether or not to capitalize “Internet.”

I looked at several online resources, including blogs, web sites and forums. A couple of resources compared it to other forms of mass communication, including radio, television, etc., which are not capitalized. That argument made sense, and I thought I had my answer.

Then I decided to go to one of my favorite sources of grammar and writing information, the Online Writing Lab (OWL) of Purdue University. I love that site. It’s a great resource, and it listed the correct spelling and capitalization for technological terms from the AP Stylebook, which stated that it should be capitalized. OK, so now I have another answer!

Which one did I choose? In this case, I’m going with AP.  I’ve used AP style for years, and find the information contained in that resource simple and easy to follow. By using one standard guide, then I can maintain a consistent style based on a credible source. Consistency is an important aspect of professionalism. If there’s no single right or wrong answer, be consistent.

What do you do when you find conflicting information on style or grammar? What’s your go-to-source?

Write soon,



  1. OWL is a great resource. Gregg style manual is a good one too, but consistency is the key.

  2. I like "Writers Reference Book" by Diana Hacker. It's user friendly.

    So the Internet is a proper noun? Like Target or Trader Joe's? Really?

    I never knew, so thanks, Mary.

  3. Internet! That's my style and I'm sticking to it!

    Thanks for the reference guide suggestions Donna and Sioux, I'll take a look.