The word e-mail vs. email and spaces after periods

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The word e-mail vs. email and spaces after periods

Postby KinsleyRoyale on Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:41 pm

Personally I feel the wave of grammar is to lighten up. Still, there are tough-to-the-core editors that seem to stick to stringent rules. Recently a classmate's paper was criticized for her using "email" as one word instead of "e-mail".

I Googled the question and found arguments about it, and the general rule agreed to seemed to be to use either. What do you think? How do we work together if one person demands it be one way, but the others say anything goes?

I was caught by the same editor saying I was to only use one space after a period. I do understand that's how it is for books, but I thought it was my choice. Do you think I should be criticized for putting two spaces after a period for an advertising piece for a website?

I've been noticing the proofreading in a book written by a well-published author. She has in-house proofreaders and editors. In the book there are not commas where I would have put some. The author also started some sentences with "And" or "But," Are today's authors allowed to make their own rules?
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Re: The word e-mail vs. email and spaces after periods

Postby SJHillman on Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:52 am

I think "email" and "e-mail" are largely interchangeable, but the latter is becoming a relic from the young Internet as "email" becomes less a shortening of "electronic mail" and more of a word in its own right. Watch a newscast from the early 1990's about the Internet and even the grammar/syntax used is odd. You might have someone talk about how you can "talk to anyone in the world using Internet" whereas now we would always say "the Internet".

As for two spaces after a period, that's how I was always taught to do it throughout primary and secondary school. In college, the professors didn't care as long as you were consistent. After college, I found more people preferred a single space after a period. I could be wrong, but I think the two-spaces-after-a-period rule is another leftover from an older time when fixed-width fonts were more common and a double space helped demarcate the end of a sentence and the beginning of another.

There's a lot of rules we're taught without exactly knowing the technical reasons behind it. In school, we were told to always underline titles when writing but were never told that in print they should be italicized, not underlined. Now that even the first draft tends to be in print, there's no longer need to underline titles at all but many people still do it because it's what they were taught.

Starting sentences with "And" or "But" is also generally acceptable with the exception of formal speech when bridging two related thoughts. But we very rarely use formal speech, so it's generally okay to use it as long as you don't abuse it.

The worst book I've ever written, and one of a very small number I gave up on, was a western. However, the entire book as written as if it were by one of the characters in the story - grammar and all. A sixteen page chapter might have one comma and two periods. It's a somewhat neat idea, but it made it impossible to follow the story with all of the intentional misspellings and bad grammar.

As a final note, I highly, highly, highly recommend reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. It's aimed largely at fiction authors, but I think any writer will get a lot out of it. He tells you when to follow the rules, when to change the rules and when to abandon the rules. It also gives you insight into how he started writing and what he's gone through. Even if you don't like his fiction, consider picking up On Writing
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Re: The word e-mail vs. email and spaces after periods

Postby Celeste Stewart on Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:50 pm

What SJHillman said. And Stephen King's book is awesome! Even my non-writer husband who hates discussions about writing enjoyed it.
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