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“E-mail” vs. “Email”

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While going through revisions on a project a few weeks ago, my client asked me, “Is it ‘e-mail’ or ‘email?’”

Good question!

Until last year I was a stickler for “e-mail,” since the hyphen denotes the compound word “electronic mail.” But publications were quickly moving to “email,” so I did too.

My client’s question brought me up short. What is the correct form? Is “e-mail” for stodgy pedants and “email” for hip digerati? I posed the question to High Tech Connect’s community of PR and MarCom consultants.

Warning: Communicators are an opinionated bunch.

Citing Web sites, style guides, and other points of reference, communicators from all over voiced their opinion, sometimes quite passionately.

The bottom line? There is no consensus.

Right now, either spelling is correct. According to the editor at “Get It Write:”

“All of these ‘cyberwords’ are so new to the English lexicon that they are still very much in the process of evolving. If they follow the evolutionary path of earlier words in our language, then all spaces, hyphens, and capital letters will eventually be whittled away and we will be left with internet, email, website, and online.”

So what should you do until this happens?

Determine which style guide is best for you and your company and then consistently use whichever spelling you choose.

The following style guides may be of help to you:

AP Style Guide

Webopedia

IEEE Computer Society Style Guide

Get It Write Style Guide

Dianna Huff specializes in results-oriented B-to-B marketing writing.
For your free “Top Ten Marketing Writing Mistakes” list and a complimentary
subscription to Dianna’s monthly e-newsletter, “The MarCom Writer,”
go to http://www.dhcommunications.com/resources.htm.

“E-mail” vs. “Email”
About Dianna Huff
Dianna Huff specializes in results-oriented B-to-B marketing writing. For your free "Top Ten Marketing Writing Mistakes" list and a complimentary subscription to Dianna's monthly e-newsletter, "The MarCom Writer," go to http://www.dhcommunications.com/resources.htm. WebProNews Writer
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  • Guest

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  • Paula

    I do have an opinion about which is right, and I also have a tendency to use the version I last viewed. But when making a decision for your website or your company, I’d think the professional way is to choose a standard style guide and follow it, saving your debate and angst for decisions not already made, such as the correct spelling and punctuation of company names, taglines and logos.

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