I am surprised nobody has brought this up yet. Consider the following two question titles (emphasis mine):

Notice that some of the questions have the hyphen; others don't. Our site title drops the hyphen, although the original Area51 proposal had it intact.

What does everyone think?


3 Answers 3


Here are some ideas:

Some compound nouns do not use hyphens and some do. Unfortunately, there is no definite rule to follow when it comes to hyphenating compound nouns. The best way to decide when to use a hyphen in compound nouns is to look up the word in the dictionary. If the compound noun is not found in the dictionary, most often the words should not be hyphenated. If the dictionary indicates the words should be hyphenated, then make sure you hyphenate the words. Ex. Mother-of-pearl, father-in-law

Obtained from here: http://www.uhv.edu/ac/grammar/pdf/hyphens.pdf

This site lists a number of standard dictionaries that use the e-book version, but counters it with the widespread use of eBook in the publishing industry: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/ebook-ebook-ebook-or-e-book/

We do not normally say e-mail (at least not any more I think), so it seems it is mainly a matter of choice. There does not seem to be a standard yet, and it may be spelled ebook or e-book as per the user's choice, while eBook seems to be wrong and only used for aesthetic purposes in marketing.

For this website I would prefer using the non hyphenated ebook version, as I am sure many users here will need to browse the site on handheld devices besides computers, and it is difficult to put in the hyphen, especially on smaller screens. When the same idea can be propagated with less number of keypresses, why use the longer version?


There seems to be no general consensus. Both are apparently valid.

Personally, I would go for the version without the hyphen as that's easier to spell and remember. Trust me, I've got a website named like my nickname and sometimes, that hyphen is killing people. Thinking about it, I could imagine StackExchange came to a similar conclusion when dropping the hyphen.

Yet, that doesn't mean I would like to see edits by spelling-nazis who rant and rave on every hyphen they see. I would simply make both interchangeable, with the hyphen-version being treated as a synonym.

Talking about it, here are some related things I found in the dusty corners of the internet:

  1. Digitalbookworld.com dived into the question with (an article and related poll) in May 25, 2012 with the following results:

    poll results

  2. Dailywritingtips.com wrote a related article and they also did a related poll, but that was 4 years ago.

    poll results


The main site has a question on this. As I said there, the internet at large seems to have a fairly strong (3-1) preference for the non-hyphenated terms, according to Google's index.

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