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Hyphen Help Us
Nobody writes “electronic mail,” but how do you write the abbreviation—is it e-mail with a hyphen or its successor, email? It is a small matter that has larger implications: how, why, and when do accepted words and terms change forms?
It seems no less than a miracle that all right has survived this long, despite the perennial threat of alright. It’s probably only
a matter of time until want to becomes wanna, and going to becomes gonna. (Or worse: even “I’m gonna
go” is preferable to the trendily inarticulate “I’m-a go,” which one now hears with dispiriting regularity.)
It is doubtful that anyone under thirty writes “e-mail.” A modish blog site called Mashable declares e-mail an
“antiquated tech term.” Mashable gloated when, in 2011, the Associated Press Stylebook started recommending email.
As you may have noticed, many blogs and periodicals, and even some books, already write “email.” Others are holding out, including the San Francisco Chronicle, defiantly championing e-mail despite being just down the road from Silicon Valley.
The writer Roy Blount Jr. is a passionate crusader for e-mail. In his book Alphabet Juice, Blount states, “email is an
e-barbarism,” pointing out that “you wouldn’t write Abomb for A-bomb, or opositive for O-positive, or Xray [for X-ray].”
The GrammarBook.com staff won’t deny that we are in Blount’s corner, but at the same time we bristle at being labeled “antiquated.”
Those who care about good grammar are already dismissed as querulous fussbudgets by most of the young and the hip; who needs more of that noise?
But bear in mind that the ascendant Millennial Generation is, to put it mildly, not noted for its language skills. Millennials are mystified by hyphens,
and when they use them at all, they tend to use them incorrectly. (Many of them think a hyphen is a cute little long dash.) So in retrospect, it’s
likely that e-mail was in trouble from the start.
There you have it. It’s the dilemma of sticking with something that works just fine vs. learning to live with a slick new version, however inane,
vulgar, and wrongheaded it may strike you.
Readers, now it’s your turn: send us an electronic mail and weigh in on all this.
Because of the E-Newsletter's large readership, please submit your English usage questions through GrammarBook.com's “Grammar Blog.”
Free BONUS Quiz for You!
[[firstname]], because you are a subscriber to the newsletter, you get access to one of the Subscription Members-Only Quizzes. Click here to take a Hyphens with Prefixes Quiz and get your scores and explanations instantly!
Changes Coming to Our GrammarBook.com Website
We want to alert all of our newsletter readers and visitors to our website that we will soon begin updating the English Rules section of GrammarBook.com to reflect the contents of the eleventh edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. These revisions will take place over the next couple of months.
We researched the leading reference books on American English grammar and punctuation including The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, Fowler's Modern English Usage, Bernstein's The Careful Writer, and many others. As before, we will provide rules, guidance, and examples based on areas of general agreement among these authorities. Where the authorities differ, we will emphasize guidance and provide options to follow based on your purpose in writing, with this general advice: be consistent.
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The Blue Book of Grammar
by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern
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Eleventh Edition Now Available
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through Wiley.com and get 30 percent off and FREE shipping. Simply go to bit.ly/1996hkA and use discount code E9X4AYY.
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Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Order Today!
A Message from Our Friend the Grammar Girl
Mignon Fogarty (better known as Grammar Girl) has always imagined that pet peeves are little monsters like the Loony Toons Tasmanian Devil who revel in annoying lovers of the English language. Now, she's bringing those peeves to life in a card game called Peeve Wars.
Peeve Wars is a card game for two to four players and is appropriate for people of all ages. You start with a full deck of cards made up of fifteen peeves and three grammar heroes who can defend against the peeves, and you use the peeve cards to amass an army to annoy your opponent(s) to death. You start with three cool points, but each time an opponent successfully annoys you, you lose a cool. When you completely lose your cool, you lose the game.
Visit her game site today to learn more, contribute, and get the game for yourself.
Every year, English teachers across the U.S. can submit their collections of amusing similes and metaphors found in high school essays. Here's a selection of the best:
The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.