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Why is it correct to say "email me", whereas with the word mail we say/write "mail to me"?

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I cannot understand the question. Are you claiming that “send me an e-mail” and “send a mail to me” are correct but “send me a mail” and “send an e-mail to me” are incorrect? If so, I doubt that claim. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 14 '10 at 3:12
    
Now I realized that the title of the question contains yet another expression “email me,” which is not mentioned in the text of the question. What is your question after all? –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 14 '10 at 3:17
    
I EDITED........ –  Anderson Silva Nov 14 '10 at 3:33
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The only person I know who says "mail to me" is very much not a native speaker of English. "Write mail to me" is only marginally better.

Mail me that package.
Email me that report.
Please [write|send] me a letter.
Please [write|send] me an email.
Write me!
Email me!
I got lots of mail.
I got lots of letters.
I got lots of emails.
Nobody ever sends me any mail.
Nobody ever sends me any email.
Nobody ever writes [to] me.
Nobody ever emails me.
Please mail that card to me.
Please email that picture to me.

As you can see, there are some differences between how the word "mail" is used vs. how the word "email" is used, but that difference isn't that "mail" takes "to" while "email" doesn't. It's more that "email" is used as the electronic equivalent of not just "mail", but also "letter".

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"Correct"? That's just what many people use. If that makes it "correct", so be it.

Some of us can't generate that construct. We just just say "send me mail", always. Well, or "mail me", I guess. I never say "email" at all, really. "Mail" means email. "Snail-mail" is postal mail.

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The phrase "email me" is technically incorrect.

"E-mail" is short for "Electronic Mail". Electronic is an adjective, so mail in this context must be a noun (as opposed to the idiomatic verb, such as "I will mail you a letter").

Since mail, in this context, is a noun we need a verb for the sentence. The sentence "email me" is lacking a verb.

It will make more sense if you expand the word email:

"Electronic Mail me" makes no sense.

To correct the sentence we need to add a verb. So the correct version is:

"Send me an e-mail"

Alternatively we can apply the idiomatic verb "mail", since in modern English we use many nouns as verbs (example: "I'll text you after class", "I phoned my father last night", etc). In this case you'd have to say:

"Mail me an e-mail", or simply "Mail me" (assuming they understand that you would prefer an e-mail to courier mail)

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If "mail" can be verb, then "email" can be a verb. Trying to restrict how people use the language is an exercise in futility, all the more so when you base your restrictions on arbitrary nonsensical rules. –  Marthaª Nov 14 '10 at 6:12
    
It's not really nonsensical. In the case of the word e-mail, the "e" is a shortened version of an adjective. Adjectives can not modify verbs. They can only modify nouns. –  stevendesu Nov 14 '10 at 6:38
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However, twenty years of real-life mainstream English usage prove you wrong. Sorry. –  ptomato Nov 14 '10 at 9:50
    
Inspired by this post, I asked a question: Abbreviations for noun phrases used as non-nouns. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 14 '10 at 12:37
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Clearly, if your rules about nouns and adjectives applied, then you wouldn't have nearly the entire population violating those rules. Rather than conclude that almost everyone is wrong, perhaps it would be better to reevaluate your assumptions. E-mail/email is most likely to be a noun, not an adjective + noun. The etymology of a word's parts says nothing about the lexical category of the word as a whole. Even the dictionary, which is slow and conservative about language, has no problem with email as a verb. –  Kosmonaut Nov 19 '10 at 14:52
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protected by RegDwigнt Aug 20 '12 at 22:47

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