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    #1

    "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Some people say the noun “e-mail” is countable and others say it’s uncountable.
    Could you tell me which is correct?

  1. Curious Cat's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Why, it depends on the context ! The messages that are sent via email I would call emails In case "email" is used to define electronic mail services in general, it will be uncountable.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    In addition, here's how it's used:

    Every day, the citizens of the Internet send each other billions of e-mail messages. If you are online a lot, you yourself may send a dozen or more e-mails each day without even thinking about it. Obviously, e-mail has become an extremely popular communication tool.

    Have you ever wondered how e-mail gets from your desktop to a friend halfway around the world? What is a POP3 server, and how does it hold your mail? The answers may surprise you, because it turns out that e-mail is an incredibly simple system at its core! In this article, we'll take an in-depth look at e-mail and how it works!

    Source: http://howstuffworks/email.html


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    #4

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Thank you very much, Curious Cat and Casiopea!

    I know a person who claims to be American and insists that e-mail is uncountable.
    Do you think that is because he is old and doesn’t know much about e-mail?

  3. Curious Cat's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    That may be But it can be just his way of using the word as well. People tend to use it in whatever ways possible
    Still it's obvious - just ask him how he calls all the messages he receives, when he has to tell, e.g. how many he receives say per day or per month I mean he has to say smth. like "I've received ten emailS", doesn't he? It is to prove that the context is of the primary importance in such cases, and this noun can be both - countable and uncountable.

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #6

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Quote Originally Posted by pink dragon
    Could you tell me which is correct?
    They're not the same word.

    e-mail is short for electronic mail. "mail", the head of that phrase, is a mass noun, which makes e-mail a non-count noun. Your American friend is correct.

    [1] electronic mail (mass noun) => e-mail (mass noun)

    Mass nouns do not, or rather cannot take plural -s:

    EX: e-mail, furniture (mass noun)
    EX: *e-mails, *furnitures (plural, mass noun) ungrammatical

    As a plural "mass" noun, e-mails is incorrect. Your American friend is correct, but . . . There's another word that looks like the plural, mass noun *e-mails and it's a completely different word. It's a combination of three words, the head of which is a count noun:

    [2] electronic mail messages (count noun) => e-mails (count noun)

    e-mails is short for electronic mail messages. "messages", the head of that phrase, is a count noun, which makes its shortened version e-mails a count noun, too.

    In short, e-mail is a non-count noun, and e-mails is a count noun. There isn't a plural, mass noun e-mails.

    [1] e-mail (mass noun; it doesn't have a plural form e-mails)
    [2] e-mails (short for e-mail messages, a count noun)

    Prescriptivists - those who subscribe to the traditional rules of grammar - tell us we should choose the mass noun e-mail in all contexts; Descriptivists - those who describe how people use language - tell us the count noun e-mails is a combination of three words, with final -s a remnant of the head, count noun "messages".

    Read more here: http://www.eeicommunications.com/eye/utw/97jan.html

  5. Curious Cat's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Wow! Very interesting. Thanks, Casiopea!

  6. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    You're the one we should be thanking, Cat.

    Thank you.


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    #9

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Thank you again for your great help!!! *bowing down*

    And one more question.
    Is it also OK to say "a piece/pieces" of e-mail?

  7. Curious Cat's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: "e-mail"...countable or uncountable

    Oh, and what is meant by it? A part of an email message or something else?

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