Tuesday, October 11, 2005

At least there is email

I got my old computer working with my backup hard drive. Windows reinstalled. Windows upgraded. Windows rebooted. I don't have all my files yet, but at least I am not email-less.


Jon said...

e-mail or e·mail also E-mail

1. A system for sending and receiving messages electronically over a computer network, as between personal computers.
2. A message or messages sent or received by such a system.

**You have been alerted by the Automatic Pet Peeve Center of a violation of internal code 345.5, please see above for clarification**

Narc said...

This is the mark (-) English uses to link the parts of some compound words, including most of those containing prepositions; to combine single-word proper nouns such as place names; to put between some prefixes and the root words to which they’re joined; to avoid ambiguity in compound modifiers; to use between parts of fractions as these are spelled out, especially as modifiers; to mean “up to and including” when used between numbers or dates; etc.

Abbreviation is not one of the accepted uses for the hyphen. If you wish, you may use e'mail, but you will be the only person on the planet that does so.

Jon said...

Then you need to get with Webster and the AP Stylebook and discuss. :) It's all e-mail.

Narc said...

You know those social science types, they can't be trusted with technical stuff.

Google returns 3.2 million hits for "e-mail" and 2.0 million for "email," so there's some disagreement.

Interestingly enough, Google Scholar returns 2.9 million for "email" but only 1.5 million for "e-mail.'

Jon said...

Over a past summer one of my former students who works for a large medical facility asked about the spelling of electronic mail. Does E-mail have a hyphen or not? Many publications, especially in the computer industry, tend to omit the hyphen when spelling the word.

The question deserves some thought. After checking several dictionaries and style manuals, e-mail is probably the correct to spell the word. To back this statement, I have looked at The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, and The Gazette (Colorado Springs). In the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (1998), I noticed the hyphen in "e-mail."

Now let's deal with the dictionaries. On p. 467 of The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, American Edition (1996), the E-mail spelling occurs. The Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1997) shows e-mail spelling on p. 634. The Barron's Pocket Guide to Correct Spelling, 3d ed. (1997) shows e-mail as "electronic mail or e-mail is a way for people to send and receive messages using computers."

In contrast, the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary A-M lists "email" (1993) on p. 802. The real killer was Webster's Third International Dictionary (1993) defining email, p. 738, as "enamel . . . a moderate bluish green to greenish blue that is lighter than gendarme . . . " Perhaps, this running together of "email" could be confused with a paint color.

Finally, in Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age, edited by Constance Hale (1996), the word, "email," is run together. Scholars may question Wired magazine as a source for the ultimate spelling. Again, because of the preponderance of newspaper and dictionary usage, I would use the hyphen in e-mail.

Graciously ripped from:

PS- My collegiate dictionary states it as e-mail. guess now we know.. :)

Narc said...

Oh, but we don't. From The American Heritage Dictionary:

The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented.

If you really want to swim with the grammar pedants, there's always this thread in alt.usage.english. I liked this bit:

There are lots of authoritative references. They disagree on just
about everything.

This isn't a word that has a "correct" spelling or punctuation. It's still in flux. Now can we get back to discussing important things, like the Oxford comma? :-)