|E-mail in 2002 AP Stylebook|
(Photo: 8Crossbridge Communications 2011)
It’s about time. Crossbridge has spelled email without a hyphen since the mid-1990s.
For almost two decades, the Stylebook editors have insisted email is spelled “e-mail,” since it’s a short form of the term “electronic mail.” The hyphen kept the term consistent with other “electronic” short forms, such as e-book, e-business and e-commerce.
The Stylebook provides guidance on spelling, punctuation, grammar, business and technology terms, names, titles and special treatments. It’s the primary writing reference book for journalists, media professionals, online news bloggers, and many businesses and education institutions.
However, in Improve Web Content & Styles, I noted that:
[The AP Stylebook] is a handy resource in some instances, but it has some fatal flaws. It's designed specifically for journalists and news media. It doesn't reflect practical B2B language issues or standards, and in many cases, the guidelines are stuffy, out of touch or impractical.This observation remains accurate. Dropping the hyphen means the Stylebook has finally joined the 21st century.
The hyphen decision is causing a furor among some writers and confusion for Stylebook users. The AP Stylebook Online, for example, still contains multiple instances of “e-mail” spelled with a hyphen.
My advice remains unchanged. For practical B2B online writing guidelines, try The Web Content Style Guide by McGovern, et al, or Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age.
Meanwhile, there's more good news. The Stylebook confirms "email" can be used as a verb. Better late than never, as my grandmother used to say.
PS: Crossbridge and the AP Stylebook agree: online is one word (no hyphen).
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