Email will soon be the accepted form just by general agreement from within the cyber world from which it sprang. Yahoo Mail uses "email." Barnesandnoble.com asks for your "email" address when you sign in. I even saw it on one page of Blogger.com, which hosts this site, when I registered. It is commen within the text of actual e-mails because keystroke economy is central to this form, especially in IM. Unlike x-ray, internet mavens see the word email, or e-mail, so often that either is immediately recognizable for what it is. There is no momentary confusion as with, perhaps, e-commerce. No longer is it email that requires emphasis on the modifyer, rather it U.S. mail, or snail mail.
Also, "you" will be "u" and "your" will be "ur." Gotta love that keystroke economy.
Bill, not debating the logic, just pointing out the reality. There is a powerful force behind keystroke economy. How has health care become healthcare as often, or more often, as not? I figure medical writers just got lazy about hitting the space key or worrying about hypenation in certain constructions such as, "health-care-worker malpractice cases." (Not sure myself how many hypens go here.) The use of "email" ten million times a day in, er, e-mails probably doesn't rival all the "lug u(s)" -- not to worry.
Y'all are wrong. The hyphen does not belong there. The words "electronic mail" do not modify anything, and as a general rule, hyphenating compound modifiers do not result in one word being shortened. So here's my suggestion: In the same way that "do not" becomes "don't" and "will not" becomes "won't," electronic mail should become "e'mail."
The hyphen has many uses, compound modifiers being just one of them. E-mail is an example of one of the others.
Keystroke economy may trump grammatical arguments about leaving the hypen in e-mail. But I worry that keystroke economy will make English more difficult for people who don't read or speak English well, or for those whose first language is not English. Why add another layer of complexity to English by making IM slang a substitute for standard English?
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