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E-mail or Email? Which is Right?

Electronic mail is often shortened to email or e-mail. Is there a difference between them? Let’s look into it!

Proper use of E-mail

E-mail can be used as a noun or a verb.

Graphic illustrating the difference between "email" and "e-mail". Both are correct and widely used, however, the hyphenated version is more common.

When used as a noun, it stands for electronic mail and describes digital messages sent electronically

For example,

Jody sent Rupert an e-mail about the event.

Sara drafted an e-mail and will send it later.

When used as a verb, e-mail refers to sending an electronic message.

For example,

She e-mailed her boss, but he didn’t respond.

The assignment was e-mailed on Tuesday.

Proper use of Email

Email is simply another way to spell e-mail. Both spellings are correct and widely used. However, the hyphenated version is more common than email. 

These terms were coined in the 1980s but became more widely used in the 1990s. 

How to Choose E-mail or Email

There isn’t a standard answer to this. E-mail was the original word and is still the more popular spelling. However, The AP Stylebook says that email is also acceptable. 

There are other words that do require a hyphen with e. Two examples are e-commerce and e-book.


Should you use email or e-mail? E-mail and email both refer to electronic messaging, but e-mail is more common.


Posted by Patrice Riley
By Patrice Riley

Patrice Riley is the pen name of Dr. Deborah Riley. She is a retired English professor that enjoys grammar, literature and all things writing.

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