Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, November 01, 2000
# 12:56:00 PM:

Permalinks to this entry: individual page or in monthly context. For more material from my journal, visit my home page or the archive.

Should it be E-mail, e-mail, email, or eMail?

Wired News, which long ago pioneered the use of the word "email" as a single word, without a hyphen, recently changed their minds. I've always preferred the "e-mail" spelling they now use, and it's especially useful now that there are so many other "e-" (and "m-" etc.) words to go with it.

It may seem trivial, but Wired News's change is actually rather unusual. In English, words tend to go from separate ("electronic mail") to hyphenated ("e-mail") to one word ("email") -- almost never the other way. No one is likely to start using "to-night" again, for instance.

No standard has yet appeared in English for "e-mail" (and "e-commerce," and "e-business," and "m-commerce"...). In our language, nobody's in charge, so it will simply take some time for a canonical spelling to coalesce. I'm hoping for "e-mail," but if I had to bet money, I'd expect "email" will eventually be the way to go. All the other weird variants, such as "E-mail" with an always-capital E, and "eMail," will simply disappear along with the hyphenated one.

How long will it take for the change to be final? Maybe by the time "tonite" and "thru" are the official spellings of those words. Maybe sooner.


Journal Archive »

Template BBEdited on 29-Apr-2010

Site problems? Gripes? Angst? - e-mail
Site contents © 1997–2007 by Derek K. Miller

You may use content from this site non-commercially if you give me credit, under the terms of my Creative Commons license.

eXTReMe Tracker