E-mail or Email?

"E-mail" or "Email"?

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

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 Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.