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E-mail or Email: What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Be Using?

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Are you confused about whether to use E-mail or Email? You’re not alone. The two spellings have been a topic of debate for years. Some people use the hyphenated version while others prefer the unhyphenated one. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between Email and E-mail, and which one you should use in different contexts.

E-mail or Email

E-mail or Email: What's the Difference and Which One Should You Be Using?

History and Evolution

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between email and e-mail, you’re not alone. The two terms are used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between them. In this section, we’ll take a look at the history and evolution of email, and how it has changed over time.

Email has been around for over 50 years, with the first email being sent in 1971 by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson. At the time, email was a simple way for academics and researchers to communicate with each other. It wasn’t until the 1990s that email became widely used by the general public.

As email became more popular, it also became more complex. In the late 1990s, HTML emails were introduced, which allowed for more visually appealing and interactive emails. This was a significant development, as it paved the way for modern email marketing and newsletters.

In the digital age, email has become an essential part of our daily lives. According to a 2019 report by The New York Times, the average office worker receives over 120 emails per day. This has led to the development of email management tools like Gmail, which uses artificial intelligence to sort and prioritize emails.

In conclusion, email has come a long way since its inception over 50 years ago. From a simple way for academics to communicate with each other, it has evolved into a complex and essential part of our daily lives. Whether you call it email or e-mail, there’s no denying its importance in the modern world.

E-mail or Email: Spelling and Usage

When it comes to spelling and usage, email and e-mail are both correct ways to spell the same word. However, the issue of the hyphen (or lack thereof) in e-mail is still far from being settled. Different style guides prefer one spelling over the other, so if you need to follow one, make sure you use the spelling it prescribes.

Role of the Hyphen

The hyphen in e-mail used to be the norm, but it has become less common in recent years. Some people still prefer to use it, but many style guides now recommend leaving it out. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, recommends using email without a hyphen, while the AP Stylebook still prefers e-mail.

Style Guides and Publications

Different style guides and publications have their own preferences when it comes to spelling and usage. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, recommends using email without a hyphen, while the AP Stylebook still prefers e-mail. The New York Times and The Guardian both use email without a hyphen as well.

It’s worth noting that e-commerce, e-book, and other words that begin with “e-” are still hyphenated. However, email has become a noun in its own right and is no longer considered a hyphenated word.

Here’s a table comparing the spellings of email and e-mail in some popular style guides:

Style Guide Email E-mail
AP Stylebook No hyphen Hyphenated
Chicago Manual of Style No hyphen Hyphenated
The Guardian No hyphen N/A
The New York Times No hyphen N/A

Email as a Noun and Verb

When it comes to email or e-mail, it is important to understand that both are correct spellings of the same word. However, there are some differences in how the word is used as a noun and a verb.

Email as a Noun

As a noun, email refers to a message sent or received electronically. It can also refer to the system or service used to send or receive electronic messages. For example:

  • I received an email from my boss this morning.
  • Can you check your email and see if you got the message?

Email as a Verb

As a verb, email means to send a message electronically. It is often used in place of the phrase “send an email.” For example:

  • I’ll email you the report as soon as it’s finished.
  • Can you email me the details of the meeting?

It is worth noting that some people still prefer to use the hyphenated form “e-mail” when using the word as a verb. However, this is becoming less common as email becomes more widely used.


Here are some examples of email used as both a noun and a verb:

  • Noun: I received an email from my friend yesterday.
  • Verb: Can you email me the details of the project?
  • Noun: I need to check my email before the meeting.
  • Verb: I’ll email you the agenda for the meeting.
  • Noun: My inbox is full of spam emails.
  • Verb: I need to email my boss about the deadline extension.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the correct spelling: email or e-mail?

Both spellings are correct, but email is more commonly used nowadays. In fact, many style guides, including The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, recommend using email without the hyphen.

Is there a difference between email and e-mail?

No, there is no difference in meaning between email and e-mail. Email is simply a shortened form of electronic mail, and e-mail is the original spelling.

Which is more commonly used: email or e-mail?

Email is more commonly used than e-mail. The hyphenated version was more popular in the early days of the internet, but email has become the standard spelling in recent years.

What is the history of the word email?

The first known use of the word email was in 1979, when computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email message. At the time, the term electronic mail was commonly used, but Tomlinson shortened it to email for convenience.

Are there any style guidelines for using email or e-mail?

Yes, there are some style guidelines for using email or e-mail. As mentioned earlier, many style guides recommend using email without the hyphen. Additionally, it is generally recommended to lowercase the word email in most contexts.

Is email considered a form of mail?

Yes, email is considered a form of mail. It is a digital version of traditional mail, allowing users to send and receive messages electronically instead of through physical mail.