RIP "Web site"


The Associated Press has finally changed their stance, making "Web site" obsolete, and "website" the new standard.

We come across this ubiquitous word everywhere in our wired world, whether writing a resume, typing an email, or writing copy for a website (there it is already!). Yet we have had a hard time pinning down just what is the correct spelling - should it be capitalized, should it have a space? Some of the difficulty is a reflection of the vaporous nature of the thing itself. Oh the website; that intangible entity of ones and zeros that feels so real as we touch it through our mouses and keyboards, residing on what sometimes seems to have become our planet's eighth continent, the Internet.

Technically, until recently, the correct spelling was "Web site" since the "Web" is a proper noun referring to Internet proper, and the site is the thing residing therein. However, the English language has always adapted to its environment. Spelling and pronunciation changes, new words appear, and slang makes its way to dictionary standard. As such, "Web site" has over time been hammered into usage as "website". In my own Web copy writing I have oft opted for "website" if I'm going for a less formal, more conversational tone. On the other hand, in more formal applications such as resume, I would more likely (but not always) opt for the technically correct "Web site". With the new AP Stylebook standard, we can rest easy using the more sensible, less antiquated "website" to refer to those ubiquitous entities we all know and love.

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