Cyber Grammar Rules

New computer technologies result in new e-lingo and grammar rules. In addition to the rule about the word “data” being plural, there are several conventions to be followed concerning cyber speak.

According to the SPE Style Guide, e-business and e-commerce have hyphens, but email does not; neither does the SPE eLibrary (my brainchild, by the way.)

The hyphenated prefix “e-” is not capitalized in a title.

Example:

e-Commerce Applications for Upstream Oil and Gas

The words “intranet” and “extranet” are not capitalized, but the Internet and the World Wide Web are capitalized, as are their nicknames ‘Net (with an apostrophe) and Web. However, website is a single word that is not capitalized.

Bandwidth and database are single words, as are printout and readout (no hyphens). However, “knowledge base” is two words.

Online and offline are single words when used in a computer context; however, when used in a mechanical, chemical or electrical context, such facilities are brought “on line” or taken “off line” (two words.) Hint: if you can substitute “on the line” or “off the line,” it should be two words; that is not the case with computer systems.

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