The Judge Rules for "E-mail" with a Big "E": WebRef Update Feature | WebReference

The Judge Rules for "E-mail" with a Big "E": WebRef Update Feature

The Judge Rules for "E-mail" with a Big "E"

Hyphen Hype

Poor "on-line" has been out of line so many times with upper / lower case and minus / plus hyphens. Well, now the little feller (that's three, if you're counting my grammar violations) can cheer up since the Judge Webster said it is hyphenated. It isn't over until the fat lady sings, though. CMS and Wired editors favor "online" and the judge may change the law. The same applies for "E-mail" since it's becoming commonplace in our language that it may be blended to form a real word. Oh, you noticed I capitalized the "E?" That's right, the judge has spoken and he pronounced it "E-mail" and not "e-mail" unless you refer to it as a verb and then it can be "e."

Like E-mail, the hyphen applies to E-zine. Actually, it is not listed in the dictionary and I'm not about to write "E space zine" to follow the rule of open up if not in the dictionary. "Dial-up" and "user-friendly" are hyphenated. But Wired skips the dash in "dial up" and says use it as one word when it's an adjective. (Is your head spinning now?) I'll let you decide what to do.

Now, for the next weird case: "log on" and "log in" are open, but they are also referenced as "log-in" and "log-on." Like Wired, I think it should be "login" and "logon" and I've got my fingers crossed that the judge will change his mind and just shut the case in the next edition of the dictionary.

Take UR (I plead creative license) URL for a whirl

How many times have you gotten a URL out of a magazine or newspaper and had to enter it multiple times before you got it right? That's what happens when a URL falls at the end of a line and gets cut off and rolled over to the next line (if it isn't already a typo). This is more confusing if there are hyphens in the URL or if the break occurs at a dot. The CMS proposes that you should break after a slash and it's better to place the dot at the beginning of the next line. Also, break the words between syllables and leave out the hyphen. It may help to display URLs differently like using angle brackets>. This last suggestion helps avoid ending URLs with a period since the bracket adds sentence protection.

How to plagiarize Web articles legally / William Safire, I'm not

No, you can't copy this article word for word, but you can quote it providing you give it an appropriate citation. If you decide you want to make a reference to this article (WOW! Me, quoted?), then here are the ways to do it according to the MLA Handbook. The rule of thumb is to have the author, title, date, and URL (or type of source: CD-ROM, personal E-mail). I'll make it easy for you:

You're reading it:

Evans, Meryl K. "The Judge Rules for "E-mail" with a Capital 'E.'" Webreference. Nov. 2000>.

If you were to take something from my home page, it would be:

Evans, Meryl K. Home Page. Nov. 2000>.

If I manage to say something brilliant in a discussion list and you want to capture it, it would be done like so:

Evans, Meryl K. "I'm a Grammar Genius." Online posting. 23 Nov 2000. Webreference Mailing List. 24 Nov 2000 Nov. 2000>.

Yes, I made up the URL, so don't try it out unless you want a 404. Instead of explaining it in detail (my hands are tired and the editors gave me an article length limit), go check it out at>.

Article is too long! Secure all posts!

Thanks to viruses and hackers, my company and many others are uptight (thinking of another two words in my head) about security and Internet surfing. The defendants may plead guilty, but the company learns that its connection is insecure. Or should that be "unsecure"? "Unsecure," sounds better, but the right term is "insecure." "Unsecure" is currently not recognized, but yet "unsecured" is found in the "un" list in the dictionary.

Again, check your organization's writing rules, go to a reference, and then use your noggin'. Now, I gotta run before I get caught especially for that last grammar violation! Just remember, "be consistent!"

About the author:

Meryl Kaplan Evans is a free-lance writer to the Dallas Morning News, a TA for a Web development class at NYU, develops and maintains various Web sites for nonprofit organizations, a co- editor of a newsletter. And, oh yes, she's a part-time process analyst with a telecommunications company until a part-time webhead (yeah, I am using it as one word with no caps because I like it) job comes along and makes her a career webhead. She can easily be reached at

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This article originally appeared in the November 23, 2000 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.

Comments are welcome
Written by Meryl Evans and

Revised: November 30, 2000