A celebration is in order: The Associated Press Stylebook has officially banished that annoying hyphen from the word e-mail: It’s now email. And the good news isn’t over: website is now one word with no capital letter. Bring out the champagne!
You can read a Washington Post story about how and why the decision was made by clicking here – and you should. Everyone who’s serious about writing should know how these decisions are made.
You should know, for example, that the Associated Press Stylebook is a usage reference book widely used by journalists, so this decision will have far-reaching effects and will probably spread beyond newspapers and magazines.
This is probably a good opportunity to review a few basic facts about hyphens.
Hyphens tend to disappear over time, so often you’re going to have to make a judgment call about including or excluding them. (I stopped using that hyphen in email years ago.)
- Use a hyphen when a) two describing words go together and b) a noun immediately follows.
The lawn-mower shop will be closed next week. (Shop is a noun: Use a hyphen)
I need to get my lawn mower serviced. (No hyphen)
- Don’t use a hyphen with –ly words.
That’s a poorly written story. (No hyphen)
To learn more about hyphens, click here.