Internet, Web, and Other Post-Watergate Concerns

Q. What is the plural of e-mail when it’s used as a noun? Is it e-mail or e-mails? There’s been a bit of controversy over this as a lot of people say “e-mails” but the plural form of mail, when used as a noun, is mail. Then, there’s e-mailings. Thanks!

A. I would say that your sense of e-mail being grammatically equivalent to mail is sensible. And the following sentences work well:

Do you have any e-mail?

How much e-mail do you get each month?

How many e-mail messages did he send to you?

E-mail is great.

How many types of direct e-mailings have you considered sending?

The following sentences, if not incorrect, certainly sound less formal:

I got two e-mails today.

Send me some e-mails when you get a chance.

The latest versions of Webster’s and American Heritage, however, endorse the use of e-mail as a noun (e.g., to send an e-mail), the latter dictionary including the plural form e-mails. Perhaps, however, e-mail will one day disappear, and we will say simply mail, or message, or note, or letter, having tired of pointing to the medium with each mention (notwithstanding Marshall McLuhan’s observations).