E

earth

When to capitalise earth? This is a tricky one.

The general rule is to write Earth with initial cap when it’s a proper noun meaning Earth as a planet within the solar system – the same as for Mars, Venus, Jupiter etc. When it’s the name of the planet it’s usually written without the definite article the.

In all other senses it’s (the) earth with lower case E.

If in doubt, make it lower case.

east

See compass points.

easyJet

Lower case E, capital J, all one word.

ecommerce

Not hyphenated, not capitalised.

economic, economical

  • Economic describes things to do with economics or the economy, as in an economic forecast. It also means justified in terms of profit or cost. A thing that’s broken, that’s not worth very much and would cost a disproportionate sum to mend, is said to be beyond economic repair (rather than beyond economical repair).
  • A person or a thing can be economical. If you’re economical, that means you’re careful how much money you spend or how much stuff you give away. If a thing (a car or a heating system, for example) is inexpensive to run, it is said to be economical.

ecosystem

No hyphen.

effect, affect

See affect, effect.

e.g.

Always with two full stops, and lower case. It means “for example”. (It’s short for the Latin exempli gratia.)  i.e. means “namely” and is sometimes incorrectly used where e.g. should be used.

e.g. … etc.

You don’t need both. One or the other, at most. e.g. introduces a non-exhaustive list. etc. means “and the rest”.

email

Not hyphenated, not capitalised.

enclave, exclave

People often write enclave where they really mean exclave.

An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state or entity. An exclave is a portion of a state or district geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory. It’s possible to be both, but the terms are not interchangeable.

enquiry, inquiry

Use enquiry to mean a request for information; inquiry in UK English is usually reserved for the sense of a judicial inquest or official investigation.

enrol, enrolment

Enrol and enrolment rather than enroll and enrollment.

etc.

With full stop. Generally best avoided, unless it’s clear to the reader what it means. Don’t use it as a lazy way of finishing a list when you can’t be bothered to figure out what else should be in the list.

euro

Currency – not capitalised. Plural: euros and cents.

eurozone

Not capitalised.

everyday, every day

  • Everyday (one word) is an adjective meaning commonplace, the kind of thing you might expect to come across in an average day. An everyday occurrence.
  • Every day (two words) is a phrase meaning something that happens [each and] every day, for example “lunch is served every day”.

expatriate

Not hyphenated. And it’s not spelled ex-patriot. That would mean someone who used to be patriotic and isn’t any longer.