The top 10 miswritten and misspelled tech terms
Technology is constantly evolving, and so is the terminology. Not only are new words coined for new tech, but existing terms can change over time. Knowing the correct way to write technical terms will help you come across as technically astute, especially in IT circles. Below is a list of the most commonly miswritten and misspelled tech terms and the proper way to write them.
"Backup," when used as a noun, is a single word that refers to a copy of data. It may also be an adjective that refers to a storage device, such as a backup drive. "Back up" (two words) is a verb that describes the process of copying data. In other words, you back up your data to create a backup.
Similar to backup, "login" as a single word is a noun that refers to authentication credentials — typically a username and password. "Log in" (two words) is a verb that refers to accessing a device or service with those credentials. You log in to a website by entering your login.
The word "email" has gone through several iterations since the first message was sent several decades ago. Early shorthand for electronic mail was "EMAIL," which progressed to "E-mail" and then "e-mail." Now that email is ubiquitous and we all know how to say it, there is no need for a hyphen.
While email dropped the hyphen a long time ago, for some reason, e-commerce didn't receive the same courtesy. As of 2023, dictionaries and style guides still include the hyphen in "e-commerce." However, many electronic commerce businesses use the word "ecommerce" on their websites, notably dropping the hyphen. Both "ecommerce" and "e-commerce" are acceptable ways to write the term, though the hyphen's days may be numbered.
The proper term for video game competitions is "esports" — all lowercase without a hyphen. When gamers first started using the word in the 1990s, it took several forms, including "eSports" and "e-Sports." Similar to email, as the term became more widely used, it eventually lost its capitalization and hyphenation. After all, gamers rarely use capital letters or hyphens when messaging other players online.
When the Internet was created in 1969, it was written as a capitalized proper noun. And it has stayed that way for decades. However, like many other widely-used technical terms, that seems to be changing. In 2016, the Associated Press updated its style guide to drop the capitalization and treat "internet" as a regular noun. "Web" lost its capitalization in the same update. In 2023, "Internet," "internet," "Web," and "web" are all acceptable. But if you prefer the modern versions, you can leave the Shift key alone.
A collection of pages on a single domain is a "website" — not a "web site," and definitely not a "web-site." Early iterations in the 1990s and early 2000s included a space and hyphen, but that's no longer the case. Because "web" does not need to be capitalized, neither does "website."
Like website, "webpage" is also one lowercase word. For some reason, it took longer for "web page" to lose the space than "web site." But as fate would have it, they are now both one-word terms. Webpage is also one word when used as an adjective, such as "webpage layout."
"Mac" (the Apple computer) is short for Macintosh. It is an abbreviation, not an acronym, so there is no reason to capitalize it. You may see MAC printed in all-caps when contrasted with a PC (such as PC and MAC system requirements), but that's incorrect. A fully-capitalized "MAC" may refer to a MAC address, which is a network ID found on any device that connects to a network (not just Macs).
"Disk" with a k refers to a storage device like a hard disk drive, solid state drive, or a floppy disk. "Disc" with a c refers to optical media like a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc. Notably, "disc" media is circular, like a throwing disc. The word "disk image" is most often written with a k, though it is acceptable to spell it as "disc image" when referring to an image created from optical media, like a CD or DVD.