Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 12:59:22 -0700
From: "A. Vine"
Subject: Re: e-mail/paper mail

barbara harris wrote:
> Around here (western Canada, and eastern, too, for all I know), we certainly
> do use the plural e-mails, as in, "When I got back from my holidays, I had
> 125 e-mails waiting for me." or, "Did you get my e-mails?" Yes, I could
> say "messages," but they never are all what I would consider true messages.
> And we also use "e-mail" as a verb:
> "You can always e-mail me; it's probably better than trying to reach me by
> phone." Or, "E-mail it to me."

Here in the land of email servers, we hear much of what Barbara is describing.
"Did you get my email?" implies 1 message. "Did you get my emails?" has a note
of urgency, as the person has sent several emails and apparently received no
response. However, if I want to talk about the messages in general, I might say
"I get a lot of email". If I quantify the remark, I would say "I get 50 emails
a day." Using "messages" is ambiguous, as voice mail is widely used around here
(though not by engineers!)

Usage as a verb is also common. Sometimes people will just say "mail it to me",
with the "e" being contextually implied or inferred, or also "forward/send it to
me". But if the context is not clear, you will hear "I emailed you the

This seems to happen a lot in high tech (probably elsewhere, but I'm not privy
to that). For example, my field is software internationalization, which is
abbreviated "i18n". In documents discussing software, people write that a
certain product is not i18ned (not me, but some folks). This is pronounced
'aye-eighteen-enned', and yes, it is often used instead of saying
"internationalized". And so i18n has been verbed, as has its counterpart, l10n
(abbreviation of localization).

I think techies really like to have words with numbers in them. Some folks
around here quote standards by number, and will use the number as a verb.

who is busy i18ning