The Washington Post is dropping the hyphen from e-mail . Bill Walsh, who calls himself “the keeper, more or less, of The Post’s style manual,” isn’t happy about having to make the change. I find his reasoning sound:
While it’s true that commonly used two-word or hyphenated compounds often solidify into single words over time, that had never before happened with a compound based on a single letter. We had T-shirts and X-rays for a long time before electronic mail showed up, but we still aren’t writing about tshirts and xrays .I started walking through the alphabet: A- and B-list , C-clamp , D-Day , F-hole , G-spot, H-bomb. And, of course, e- words, all hyphenated: e-book , e-commerce , e-reader , e-tail , e-zine . Keeping the hyphen in e-mail seems a logical choice.
For whatever reason, though, e-mail quickly became email as America went online.
The title of the most popular post on this blog, How to e-mail a professor, has always had a hyphen. It’s old school.
Bad hyphens, unhelpful abbreviations : “Every generation hyphenates the way it wants to” : Got hyphens? : The Hammacher Schlemmer crazy making hyphen shortage problem : Living on hyphens : Mr. Hyphen and Mr. Faulkner : One more from Mr. Hyphen : Phrasal-adjective punctuation
[Mr. Hyphen: protagonist of Edward N. Teall’s Meet Mr. Hyphen (And Put Him in His Place) (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1937), the subject of several of these hyphen-centric posts.]