E-mail or Email?

"E-mail" or "Email"?

Mignon Fogarty,
September 29, 2011

E-mail or Email?


At a recent American Copy Editors Society meeting the editors of the Associated Press stylebook created a stir by announcing a change in their recommended spelling: "e-mail" is now "email."

The editors at the social media news website Mashable implied that the change was long overdue, running their story with a headline "AP Stylebook finally changes 'e-mail' to 'email.'" On the other hand, the New York Times announced that they'll stick with "e-mail."

What this all shows is that whether to use a hyphen in "e-mail" is a style choice, and Mashable is more permissive than the Associated Press, which is more permissive than the New York Times when it comes to language change.

I asked the AP Stylebook editors why they made the change, and they said most of their writers already turn in articles with the "email" spelling, and copy editors found "e-mail" increasingly difficult to police. They emphasized that they don't consider themselves to be on the leading edge of language change; that instead, they "bow to common usage."

UPDATE, March 23, 2017: The Chicago Manual of Style announced that in its forthcoming 17th editing, the style will be email without a hyphen.

Envelope email, Nevit Dilmen at Wikimedia. CC by 3.0

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