I've started to see 'emailed' a lot in our company correspondence but as a non-native speaker I always tend to use 'sent email' instead. Here are some examples from reliable sources:

“I worked with a lady in England named Elizabeth; she’s the best namer of horses I’ve ever met,” Mr. Roberts said. “So I emailed her and asked what I would name him. She emailed right back. She didn’t say ‘I suggest,’ or ‘I think.’” She said, “His name is Benediction.” -- New York Times

“We condemn the use of the death penalty in all its forms. The death penalty is an inhuman, cruel and irreversible punishment that has no place in modern law,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in an emailed comment to Reuters news agency. -- Independent

Can we use 'email' as a verb as it is? How normal is this?

According to my own research, 'emailed' has been used a lot but 'email' as a verb is not common. So is this an exception just for the past tense?

Emailed - Lengusa

Email them - Lengusa (replace them with him/her etc)


Yes, email can be a verb. Just as you can send mail or mail something in English, you can send an email or email something.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, email as a verb goes back at least to the 1980s:

1983 Computokid in net.micro (Usenet newsgroup) 25 Aug. Young stuff interested in correspondence (via dull old paper mail) might email a letter to me to forward.

By the 1990s, email was understandable enough to use in an advertisement to UNIX users:

1993 UNIX Rev. Mar. 28/3 (advt.) Call, fax or email for a free demo.

It's hard to overstate how commonly understood the usage is. As a small illustration, here are four members of the United States Congress (1,2,3,4) using email me in the title of a site about contacting them via email.

  • 2
    Sometimes I mail people ”things”, no matter whether those “things” are observations or notes or quotes or citations or letters or messages or approvals or questions. And sometimes I just send them those things. But I don’t usually note them observations let alone question them notes or vice versa. But I imagine I may sometimes message them an exciting confirmation. I find 𝒆messaging people “an” 𝒆xcitement to be nearly as hard as sending them 𝒆citations. Have you ever been 𝒆sent an 𝒆quote full of 𝒆words? Honestly 𝒆 is as dead as 𝒆cigarettes and 𝒆typewriters, or should be.
    – tchrist
    Jan 26 at 18:09
  • 1
    @tchrist Hah, maybe it should die. I think email clings on where many other e-terms have died out because it was adopted so early and persists as a common form of exchange. It also eliminates ambiguity: "I'll send it to you" could occur in multiple formats, but "I'll email you" or "I'll Venmo you" is more specific and brief about what to expect. (I'm not endorsing the use of Venmo, Paypal, or other platforms as a verb, but they have been effectively verbed at the moment, instead of a possible verb like e-transfer.) Jan 26 at 19:21
  • The verb post is another one that sees ambiguous usage. If tell me that you posted your survey response, did you mean that you sent that via "the post(s)" (read: the physical postal service with a real postbox and a real postman etc), or did you just electronically publish it somewhere on the Internet?
    – tchrist
    Jan 26 at 19:36
  • You can always verb a noun and have it take root, but when the noun has left the building? cf. Fax it, telex it, telegraph it... Jan 27 at 3:11

Yes, email is very much used as a verb, especially by native speakers, I have noticed that as well. Gngram is very clear about it:

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Note that it can be used both transitively (send something by email)

[ + two objects ] Has he emailed you that list of addresses yet?

[Cambridge English Dictionary]

and intransitively:

: to communicate by email

As I write this, a colleague who takes an amateur interest in tracking the weather emailed to say it would be "among the hottest days of 2019 so far, if not #1".


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