Difference Wiki

Etiquette vs. Netiquette: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 9, 2023
Etiquette refers to traditional social manners and behavior; netiquette pertains to appropriate conduct online.

Key Differences

Etiquette is the set of conventional rules for personal behavior in polite society, while netiquette is the set of rules for correct and respectful behavior online.
Etiquette has been practiced for centuries and includes behaviors like not talking with a full mouth or holding the door for someone behind you. Netiquette, a newer term, includes not using all caps in online communications or respecting others' privacy in online forums.
Etiquette often pertains to physical interactions and the sensory experience, such as using utensils properly or dressing appropriately for an event. Netiquette, on the other hand, focuses on digital interactions, ensuring messages are clear and aren't inadvertently rude.
Etiquette can vary widely between cultures and regions, meaning what's polite in one culture might be impolite in another. Netiquette, although still varying somewhat by culture, has more global standards because of the worldwide nature of the internet.
Etiquette traditionally deals with face-to-face interactions, so mistakes or breaches can often be quickly addressed. In contrast, breaches in netiquette can quickly escalate or spread, given the rapid and wide-reaching nature of online communication.

Comparison Chart


Social and cultural settings
Online and digital platforms


Historical customs and traditions
Evolved with the rise of the internet

Impact of breach

May be seen as impolite or disrespectful
Can spread widely and quickly online


Can vary significantly across cultures
More global standards, but still some variance

Mode of Interaction

Face-to-face interactions primarily
Digital communications primarily

Etiquette and Netiquette Definitions


The ceremonial observance of social graces and courtesies.
Etiquette dictates sending a thank-you card after receiving a gift.


The correct or acceptable way of communicating on the internet.
Not using ALL CAPS is a basic rule of netiquette.


The customary code of polite behavior in society.
Proper etiquette requires standing when a guest enters the room.


Social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, especially the internet.
Proper netiquette includes not sending unsolicited emails.


The accepted social mannerisms one must follow in various situations.
She displayed impeccable etiquette during the formal dinner.


The code of manners used in online interactions.
Abiding by netiquette, she refrained from sharing personal details in the public forum.


A prescribed or accepted code governing behavior in a particular setting.
Theater etiquette discourages talking during the performance.


Etiquette practiced or advocated in electronic communication over a network.
Following netiquette, he cited the original author when sharing the article.


The conventions governing the treatment and especially the language used concerning groups or individuals.
Using Ms. can be considered proper etiquette if one is unsure of marital status.


The conventions of politeness recognized among experienced users of computer networks.
In netiquette, it's considered rude to spam someone's inbox.


The practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.


Etiquette practiced or advocated in electronic communication over a computer network.


The forms required by a good upbringing, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; observance of the proprieties of rank and occasion; conventional decorum; ceremonial code of polite society.


(Internet) Conduct while online that is appropriate and courteous to other Internet users, and may be expected or enforced by others.
Top-posting and spamming are considered poor netiquette on a newsgroup.


How is netiquette different from etiquette?

Netiquette pertains to appropriate conduct online, while etiquette refers to traditional social manners and behavior.

Why is netiquette important?

Given the global nature of the internet, netiquette ensures respectful and clear communication in online interactions.

Are etiquette rules universal?

No, etiquette can vary widely between cultures and regions.

Can etiquette change over time?

Yes, etiquette can evolve based on societal changes and values.

Is oversharing on social media against netiquette?

Oversharing can be considered a breach of netiquette, as it can invade privacy and annoy others.

How is etiquette taught?

Through societal norms, mentors, family, and etiquette classes.

Is using all caps in emails a breach of netiquette?

Yes, using all caps can be perceived as shouting or being aggressive.

How quickly can breaches in netiquette spread?

Given the internet's rapid nature, breaches in netiquette can spread quickly and widely.

Can bad netiquette harm one's online reputation?

Yes, breaches in netiquette can negatively impact one's online image and relationships.

Should companies have a netiquette policy?

Yes, to ensure professional and respectful online communication among employees.

How can one learn about proper etiquette?

Books, courses, mentors, and cultural immersion can help one understand etiquette.

Are there courses on netiquette?

Yes, many institutions and online platforms offer courses on proper netiquette.

Why is etiquette important in business?

Proper etiquette fosters positive relationships and shows professionalism.

Does etiquette apply to texting?

Yes, there are etiquette guidelines for texting, such as not using excessive abbreviations.

Do etiquette rules apply during online meetings?

Yes, and they merge with netiquette rules, like muting when not speaking.

Is trolling a violation of netiquette?

Absolutely, trolling is against the principles of respectful online interaction.

What is etiquette?

Etiquette refers to the customary codes of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular group.

Is etiquette only about table manners?

No, etiquette covers a wide range of social manners, from communication to appearance.

Is there a universal standard for netiquette?

While there are common principles, netiquette can still vary somewhat by culture or platform.

Can breaches in etiquette be overlooked?

While minor breaches might be overlooked, consistent lapses can be seen as disrespectful.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons