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Can I say someone to mail me when I'm referring to sending me to an e-mail?

I'm aware of other meaning of the word mail, but is it nowadays used in older meaning?

In many languages mail and e-mail are synonyms. Would an average native speaker younger than 40 also understand it that way?

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    Save yourself the hassle. Just say the extra syllable :P – Squazic Jan 24 '13 at 22:46
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    I'm curious: How much research did you do before asking this question? – J.R. Jan 24 '13 at 23:15
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It has been used that way, most markedly by AOL back in the early '00s, but is really isn't used that way, at least in the US, or at least in the parts of the US where I have lived.

Some people may understand your meaning, others wouldn't. If you were to ask me to "mail" something to you, I would be confused, and take a few seconds to catch on. But if you said "email", I would immediately know what you mean.

So ultimately, it's a matter of clarity. Use "email". It isn't saving you any time to say "mail" instead, and you probably save time, since you don't need to wait for the other person to catch on.

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Mail is also used as verb to mean "send an email" ("Mail me when you are ready."), and as noun as synonym of email, such as in the following sentence: "You have got mail."

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  • I've never heard the phrase "mail me ___" when referring to email (other than by AOL's mail service, which stopped that a long time ago). Have you? – Ken Bellows Jan 25 '13 at 11:13
  • Yes, I have. A friend of mine (American) told me "Mail me […]" to mean "Send me an email." – kiamlaluno Jan 25 '13 at 12:39
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You can ask someone to mail you, but should you?

Please mail me the file

doesn't sound right to me. If we usually email each other and don't use postal mail, I would understand what you mean. But, I might be confused for a moment, or stop to think that it sounded awkward.

Even though mail as a noun sometimes means electronic mail, mail as a verb like in mail me usually means postal mail. There are not any examples in the COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English - a set of recent spoken and written language samples) where mail me seems to mean email.

The use of mail might be changing or might be different for people whose English is not in the samples in COCA. But it is a safe choice to write email instead, as in:

Please email me the file

If you want to choose a different word, send is common, as in send me an email, send her a text, or send us the information. Maybe because I hear and see send so much more than mail, please send me the file sounds normal to me. It would not confuse me (if we usually send emails and not postal mail).

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