Decoding the Correct Spelling: E-mail, email, E-mail or Email?

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated January 25, 2024
7 minute read
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In the digital age, the term 'email' has become a staple in our daily vocabulary. Yet, its spelling often sparks debates. Is it 'email', 'E-mail', 'e-mail', or 'Email'? This blog aims to unravel the mystery behind the correct spelling of this ubiquitous term.

We'll start by exploring the basics of email spelling, delving into its evolution and the role of hyphen and capitalisation. Then, we'll examine how different style guides, such as APA, Chicago Manual of Style, and MLA, influence the spelling of 'email'.

The context in which 'email' is used also plays a significant role in its spelling. Whether it's professional communication, academic writing, or casual correspondence, the spelling can vary. Lastly, we'll compare the spelling of 'email' with its physical counterpart, 'mail', to understand the transition and current trends. So, let's dive in and decode the correct spelling of 'email'.

Understanding the Basics of Email Spelling

In the digital age, the term 'email' has become a staple in our everyday language. But have you ever stopped to ponder over its correct spelling? Is it 'email', 'E-mail', 'e-mail', or 'Email'? This section will delve into the basics of email spelling, tracing its evolution, the role of the hyphen, and the significance of capitalisation. It's time to decode the mystery and get our spelling right!

The Evolution of the Term 'Email'

The term 'email' has evolved significantly since its inception. Initially, it was spelled as 'electronic mail', which was then shortened to 'e-mail' for convenience. Over time, as the usage of the term became more widespread, the hyphen was dropped, leading to the current spelling 'email'. This evolution reflects the dynamic nature of language and how it adapts to societal changes.

The Role of Hyphen in Email Spelling

The hyphen in 'e-mail' was initially used to signify that it was an electronic version of mail, much like e-commerce or e-learning. However, as the term 'email' became more commonplace, the hyphen started to disappear. Today, both 'email' and 'e-mail' are accepted, but 'email' is more widely used.

Capitalisation in Email Spelling

When it comes to capitalisation in email spelling, there's a bit of a grey area. Traditionally, when 'email' was a new term, it was often written as 'E-mail' with a capital 'E'. This was mainly because it was a shortened form of 'Electronic mail', and the capital 'E' was used to signify the importance of the electronic component. However, as the term became more commonplace, the capital 'E' started to fade away. Nowadays, it's more common to see it written as 'email' in lowercase, especially in informal contexts. But remember, in formal writing or at the start of a sentence, 'Email' with a capital 'E' is still perfectly acceptable.

The Influence of Style Guides on Email Spelling

Diving into the world of written communication, we often find ourselves tangled in the web of correct spelling, especially when it comes to the term 'email'. The influence of style guides on the spelling of 'email' is profound, shaping our understanding and usage of this ubiquitous term. Whether it's the APA, Chicago, or MLA style guide, each has its unique stance, adding to the ongoing debate: Is it E-mail, email, E-mail or Email?

The APA Style Guide's Stance

The APA Style Guide, a trusted resource for academic writing, firmly supports the use of 'email' without a hyphen. This spelling choice reflects the guide's preference for simplicity and ease of reading, aligning with its overall mission to promote clear communication in scholarly work.

The Chicago Manual of Style's Perspective

The Chicago Manual of Style, another influential guide, has a different take on the spelling of 'email'. Unlike the APA, it favours the unhyphenated version, 'email'. This guide believes in the evolution of language and adapts to changes in common usage, hence its preference for 'email'. It's interesting to note how style guides can differ in their approach to the same word, reflecting the fluidity of language.

The MLA Style Guide's Viewpoint

In contrast, the MLA Style Guide leans towards the use of 'email' without a hyphen. They argue that the term has become so commonplace that the hyphen is no longer necessary, reflecting the evolution of language and technology.

Email Spelling in Different Contexts

In the realm of digital communication, the spelling of 'email' often sparks debate. Is it 'email', 'E-mail', 'e-mail', or 'Email'? This section delves into the correct spelling of 'email' in various contexts, including professional communication, academic writing, and casual correspondence. We'll explore the nuances of each setting, providing clarity on this seemingly trivial yet crucial aspect of our digital lives.

Email Spelling in Professional Communication

In professional communication, the spelling 'email' is widely accepted. It's a more streamlined version, doing away with the hyphen that was once common. This spelling is favoured in business correspondence, official documents, and digital platforms. It's seen as modern and efficient, much like the communication tool it represents.

Email Spelling in Academic Writing

In the realm of academic writing, the spelling of 'email' often leans towards the more formal 'e-mail'. This is largely due to the fact that academic writing tends to adhere to traditional grammatical rules and conventions. However, it's worth noting that the use of 'email' is gradually gaining acceptance in this context, reflecting the evolving nature of language and communication.

Email Spelling in Casual Correspondence

In casual correspondence, the spelling 'email' is most commonly used. This is because the casual nature of these interactions allows for a more relaxed approach to language and grammar. The hyphenated version, 'e-mail', is seen as more formal and is therefore less commonly used in this context. However, it's important to remember that language is always evolving, and the 'correct' spelling can change over time. So, while 'email' is currently the preferred spelling in casual correspondence, this could potentially change in the future.

Comparing Email Spelling with Physical Letter

In the realm of communication, the transition from physical 'mail' to 'email' has sparked a debate on the correct spelling of the latter. This section delves into the traditional spelling of 'mail', the evolution to 'email', and the current trend in spelling 'email', offering a comparative analysis to shed light on this linguistic conundrum.

The Traditional Spelling of 'Mail'

In the good old days, 'mail' was the term used to refer to letters, postcards, and parcels sent through the postal system. The spelling was straightforward and universally accepted, with no variations or confusion. It was a simpler time when the word 'mail' was just about physical letters and packages, and the digital world was yet to make its mark.

The Transition from 'Mail' to 'Email'

As technology advanced, the term 'mail' evolved into 'email', symbolising the shift from physical letters to digital communication. The hyphen in 'e-mail' was initially used to indicate this transition, much like 'e-commerce' or 'e-learning'. However, as the concept of electronic mail became more commonplace, the spelling started to simplify, leading to the use of 'email' without the hyphen.

The Current Trend in Spelling 'Email'

Nowadays, the trend is leaning towards the simplified 'email'. This spelling is gaining popularity due to its ease and efficiency, mirroring the very nature of the digital communication it represents. It's a clear reflection of how language evolves with society and technology.

Final Thoughts on the Correct Spelling of Email

The debate on the correct spelling of 'email' is a fascinating one, with its roots in the evolution of the term and the role of the hyphen and capitalisation. It's clear that the spelling of 'email' has been influenced by various style guides, each with their own stance. The APA, Chicago, and MLA style guides have all played a part in shaping the way we spell 'email' today.

In different contexts, such as professional communication, academic writing, and casual correspondence, the spelling of 'email' can vary. This is similar to the transition from 'mail' to 'email', where the traditional spelling of 'mail' has evolved to fit the digital age. The current trend leans towards 'email', reflecting the ever-changing nature of language.

In conclusion, the correct spelling of 'email' is subjective and depends on the context and style guide you adhere to. Whether it's 'E-mail', 'email', 'E-mail' or 'Email', the essence remains the same. It's a testament to the dynamic nature of language and how it adapts to technological advancements.

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Rebecca Hey
Founder of Strategically.co, we’ve created over 10 million words of impactful content, driving organic traffic growth for more than 300 businesses.

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