Why Not Say It Clearly: The JAMA Network Editors on Correct Usage

The second edition of Why Not Say It Clearly? A Guide to Expository Writing by Lester S. King, MD, was published in 1991 (first edition in 1978).

Dr King was a charmingly irascible but fascinating and classically trained scholar who was a senior editor at JAMA for more than 25 years. A coauthor of the AMA Manual of Style (eighth edition), he was an accomplished raconteur and humorist as well as a prolific writer, particularly concerning language and usage.  He was professor of pathology and professorial lecturer of history of medicine at the University of Chicago.

Why Not Say It Clearly remains an enduring editorial classic on writing and usage and is the inspiration for this expansion of the AMA Style Insider:  The JAMA Network Editors on Correct Usage.  Feedback welcome!—Roxanne K. Young, ELS

Internet, Computer Terms, and References to Social Media

The JAMA Network editors prefer the following capitalization and punctuation styles for e- and i-entities, computer terms, and references to and in social media and networks.  Also check commercial websites for trademarked terms and conditions of their use.

app, application

cell phone

e-cigarette (E-cigarette at the beginning of a sentence or in a title, subtitle, or heading)

e-commerce (see e-cigarette)

e-learning (see e-cigarette)



e-terms (see e-cigarette)

email (Email at the beginning of a sentence or in a title, subtitle, or heading)

Follow (as on Facebook; also capitalize Junk folder, Option key, Edit menu, and other computer key and menu names)

Google (google as verb)



iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc (trademarks)




online (as both adjective and adverb)


Skype (skype as verb)


text, texted, texting

Tweet, Tweeting, Twitter, Twittering (despite the official logo being lowercase; a trademark)

webinar, website (World Wide Web, web-based literature search)

Wiki, Wikipedia

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