Spacing Out: Goodbye Cell Phone, Hello Cellphone

March 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm 3 comments

By Eve Powell Orio

Say goodbye to the hyphen. And while you’re at it, it’s sayonara to the space, too, because they were both officially deemed passé by the AP Style Book when it proclaimed last week that “cell phone,” “e-mail” and “smart phone” have been “changed to cellphone, email and smartphone to reflect increasingly common usage.”

As an official word nerd, this is the stuff I live for! Back in my days as senior manager of content development at Mattel Digital Network, what got me through the week was the regular Friday meeting with my team. We could easily spend the entire hour discussing precisely these issues without interruption by those who couldn’t care less whether the period goes inside the quotes (it does). I loved every minute.

Sadly, most people do fall into the “couldn’t care less” category. But without proper punctuation (as well as spelling and grammar), how can you be sure you’ve interpreted a sentence correctly? It’s particularly important in business where misinterpretation of emails is by far the biggest cause of inter-cubicle warfare.

So how do I feel about the loss of the hyphen in “e-mail” and the space in “cellphone?” I’m all for “email” because it’s short ‘n sweet. Cellphone, on the other hand, looks crammed because there are so many letters. In the end, though, I’ll go with the accepted usage because it’s the content manager’s job to ensure the clearest possible communication.

As I’ve been typing this blog, I’ve had to add these newly amalgamated words to my computer dictionary. Will they be included in the next release of Word? I don’t know butIcan’twaittosee!

What do you think about email, cellphone and smartphone? Do you care? Do you think it matters? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Entry filed under: Content, Editing, Writing. Tags: , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. laurastanfill  |  March 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Yikes! I didn’t know about cellphone and smartphone until reading your post, but I’m doing my best to adjust to email this week. And website for that matter, as I somehow missed that update in 2010!

  • 2. Eve Orio  |  March 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Keeping up is impossible, especially when you write content for a website, but it goes on a Web page! I finally gave up and got a subscription to the online AP book. I still get confused; now I just let AP make the decision for me 🙂

  • 3. laurastanfill  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    That’s a brilliant solution!


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