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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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« He/She or They? A Better Way | Main | Out-of-Office Replies: Things to Avoid »

May 18, 2007


On Request

The Chicago manual of style says that 'emails' is permissible to use. Use of it in that form will always sound awful to me. I don't understand why it doesn't sound awkward and incorrect to more people. From my perspective, it should always be email. But then again, I don't know how to google anything ( I conduct a web search typically )


"Emails" will gradually become natural to your ear. It's just a matter of adjustment.

Good luck!

Earl Trussell

The editors of The Economist began using email as a Countable Noun(ie. has a plural form)almost ten years ago. Since then, I have been teaching it as such.


"Email" is short for "electronic mail". You don't say
"electronic mails". I don't say "I need to read my emails".

I do say, "email me".

Unfortunately, the sensible users are losing to the less sensible hoards.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Glen. I try to avoid thinking of us writers as "sensible users" and "less sensible hoards." I would hate to find myself in the latter category.


Michael Lim

Unfortunately, popular usage always eventually wins out. Witness the use of:

- Practice instead of practise as a verb;
- Alternate in place of alternative.

The list goes on.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Michael. I don't mind the evolution of language that accompanies people's new usages. To me, it keeps language fresh and apt.

Thanks for sharing your examples and view.


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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
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