Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hyphen, No Hyphen: that is the question.

clipped from
Should the Hyphen Stay in E-Mail?

Weekend Edition Saturday, February 19, 2005

Writer Roy Blount, Jr. explains why he thinks the hyphen should stay in the word e-mail. Recent guidance from Web stylesetters has been to streamline the term as email.
To Listen Click Here.

Email (let's drop the hyphen)

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.

Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things.

A note on email versus e-mail

Newly coined nonce words of English are often spelled with a hyphen, but the hyphen disappears when the words become widely used. For example, people used to write ``non-zero'' and ``soft-ware'' instead of ``nonzero'' and ``software''; the same trend has occurred for hundreds of other words.

Thus it's high time for everybody to stop using the archaic spelling ``e-mail''. Think of how many keystrokes you will save in your lifetime if you stop now! The form ``email'' has been well established in England for several years, so I am amazed to see Americans being overly conservative in this regard. (Of course, ``email'' has been a familiar word in France, Germany, and the Netherlands much longer than in England --- but for an entirely different reason.)

clipped from

Is There a Hyphen in "Email"

I'll give you a clue; read the title. Anyway, I think it's time to stop putting a hyphen in "email". New terms formed from two words (in English) are often hyphenated, but as the word comes into common use, the hyphen is dropped. Email has existed for over thirty years; the hyphen is just not needed anymore.

A search at the time this page was written on Google for "email" yields about 80 million hits whereas a search for "e-mail" with a hyphen yields only 7 million hits. I am heartened to see that Google asks, "Did you mean email?", when a query contains "e-mail".

The popular sentiment is clearly swaying toward the elimination of the hyphen and we should hasten it on its way. All you publishers out there need to revise your style guides -- and quickly -- before we exhaust the world's supply of hyphens.

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