Thursday, April 26, 2007

U Say "Web Site" - I Say "Website"

A couple of weeks ago, I pondered to myself, "what is it with everyone referring to a website as a 'Web site' [two words] lately?" Many, many years ago - back in the mid-nineties - I remember folks using "Web site" at a time when most people had no idea what one was. Back when I started creating webpages (1996), the single-word usage was just starting to be used, and I had always used it that way ever since. But now the two-word usage seems to be making a comeback. This is puzzling to me, and so now every time I see website spelled as two words, a little "what the fuck?" thought balloon floats over my head.

After all, if "webpage" is one word, and "homepage" is one word, then how did "website" suddenly morph into being a two word noun again?

So I decided to look it up. And what I found out is that both spellings are correct. So - whoop-dee-do - I'm sticking with the one word spelling. It's more consistent in relation to other 'tech' words like "homepage" and the now popularly spelled "email." (Note the loss of the hyphen in email.)

Here's the notation that I found at
"Usage Note: The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email is gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there is an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout."

There are many other words that started out as two words and morphed into one. "Dumbass" and "jackass" come to my mind immediately (sorry). "Dumbass" can still be spelled "dumb ass," but "jackass" evolved into one word a very long time ago. And then there's a bunch of words whose usage depends on whether they are nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Before my brain fogged over, I decided I'd just link to this nifty little webpage here that gives several examples. I also found this other site which helped me out (or confused me more, whichever).

There are some words, too, that I could never picture as ever being spelled as a single word. Ethnic references, for example, will probably always be hyphenated - at least in my lifetime. I just can't imagine "African-American" as ever being "Africanamerican." (And I've always considered the two-word usage of African-American to be "black person.")

Well, before I get totally lost in my own explanation of how confused I tend to get at times, I think I'll bring this post to a close.

~ ~

Missing Persons in New England

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