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211 How do you spell "e-mail"? (Spelling - alt.usage.english)




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This article is from the alt.usage.english FAQ, by Mark Israel misrael@scripps.edu with numerous contributions by others.

211 How do you spell "e-mail"? (Spelling - alt.usage.english)


In September 1995, Jeff Adams (jeffa@kurz-ai.com) did a search on
"a corpus of about 40 million words of Usenet news articles", and
counted the following forms:

	email      19371
	e-mail     15359
	E-mail      7572
	Email       5906
	E-MAIL      3659
	E-Mail      2986
	EMAIL       1269
	EMail        521
	eMail        303
	e-Mail        42
	eMAIL          5

and several other forms each rare enough to be probably "just dumb
typos".

	Total without hyphen:   27378
	Total with    hyphen:   29622

Bob Cunningham searched articles posted to alt.usage.english
between mid-May and mid-September 1995, found 604 instances of
"e-mail" and 235 of "email".

A 1995 poll of subscribers to the Copyediting-L mailing list
produced 60 votes for "e-mail" and 24 votes for "email".

In favour of "e-mail", it has been argued that there are
analogous nonce compounds in "e-" (e.g, "e-vote", "e-boyfriend");
that the hyphen is a clue that the word is stressed on the first
syllable; and that "email" is French for "enamel". In favour of
"email", it has been argued that this is the spelling used in the
Jargon File, and that there has been a general trend away from
hyphenating words once they become established. Many dictionaries
favour "E-mail", which can be justified by analogy with such forms
as "A-bomb", "C-section", and "G-string".

 

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