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Tip 66: Email or E-mail, Which Do I Choose?

One of our readers asked us how to write the term we use for electronic mail: hyphen or no hyphen?

The short answer is this: Either is correct. Just choose one and be consistent.

It seems that the original spelling was e-mail, but the spelling has evolved into the shorter form that does not use the hyphen.

Although a Google search seems to show that far more people use ‘email’ than ‘e‑mail,’ there is definitely a division among companies, publications, and style guides.

Those who spell the word without the hyphen (email) include the Society of Professional Engineers (SPE), NACE, the U.S. Government Printing Office, the Associated Press Style Book, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and companies such as BP, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

Those who hyphenate the word (e-mail) include The Chicago Manual of Style, The Gregg Reference Manual, The Handbook of Technical Writing, The Modern Language Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the MIT Guide to Science and Engineering, and the Washington Post.

Some companies, organizations, and publication guides don’t seem to address how to write the term at all.

Whichever form you choose, you will be in good company. Just be consistent!