Hyphens, capitals and spaces

The addition of the letters ‘e’ and ‘i’ before words in our online knowledge economy has led to perhaps the greatest set of spelling variations in the history of the language.

What to do? Should organisations establish a strict rule for people to adopt a certain way of spelling an e-word, or just leave it to everybody’s personal preference? Does it matter if one person posts an item on a site with one spelling and another person spells it another way. Just as likely, one person spells a word one way in the morning and a completely different way in the afternoon…

Of course, publishers have been applying style manuals as long as they have been publishing, and finding a rule will be second nature to them. I wonder… Does every publisher have a rule for spelling e-Learning/eLearning/E-Learning online outside their copy-edited content? They should, and would probably be thoroughly ashamed if they realised they didn’t?

“What about our Search Engine Optimisation?” they might cry. Well, happily Google ignores hyphens – and you can prove it, though the result of the test is slightly disturbing. Through a Google search and putting in ‘e-Learning’, if you include the ads, it brings seven different ways of spelling the same word out of 18 results…!

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