'Email' Sans Hyphen Takes Another Leap Forward

The hyphen has been steadily fading from “e-mail” for years. The Associated Press Stylebook, which since the technology’s earliest days explicitly called for “e-mail,” abandoned the hyphen about a decade ago.

Everyday users, in my anecdotal experience, ditched the hyphen even earlier.

AP’s counterpart in the book-publishing world, the Chicago Manual of Style, has been the holdout.

As the rest of the world slid toward “email,” this influential guide stood firm. It’s e-mail, Chicago insisted. Hyphen included.

Those days are over. In its most recent edition, Chicago finally changed its position. “Email” is now its official recommendation.

You don’t have to follow their rule or AP’s. Many dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate and Webster’s New World, allow “e-mail” as an alternative to “email.” So you can write “e-mail” if you want to. But you won’t. Together, AP and Chicago govern the vast majority of your reading material, with AP style observed by most news media and Chicago style by most book and magazine publishers.

But anyone who holds firm on “e-mail” will be swimming against the tide. Here’s my recent column explaining why.



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