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E-mail or Email?

"E-mail" or "Email"?

By
Mignon Fogarty

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

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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