How Hard is your Email to Say?

Posted on

You’re at the doctors office, talking to an aquaintence, or ordering something on the phone and they ask the question: What’s your email? Depending on your name, age, and your life choices this can be a breeze or the dreaded question. How long does it take before you have to break out the phonetic alphabet? How many times do you have to repeat it?

Today we’re going to come up with a scoring system to measure how painful your email is to tell someone. It’s a golf scoring system with low scores being easy and each point is one unit of struggle for both you and the recipient.

Lets start with the hypothetical perfect example: coming in with a score of 0. It’s short, contains only a common name, and is on a popular mail host. From there, lets see all the ways yours is harder to say.

If’s it’s not,,,,, or take a point. These are services people are familiar with and don’t have to think about typing. They just might judge you on which on you use.

Domain with subdomain

If you have an email from school hanging around you’re likely to be guilty of this one like I am. My school address got the alumni subdomain added to it. I’ve seen a bunch of other emails from schools with the department included, or other fun stuff just ‘cause like Add a point for each level of domain past the normal two levels.

Non common top level domain

If you’re extra special you’ll have a TLD like .is, .io, .rocks or some other novelty. Take a point if it’s not .com, .org, .net, .edu, or .gov.

Long Username

After a certain amount of letters in the username you’re just going to have to slow down and repeat that. +1 point for every 2 characters over 6. gets a 3 for example.


Periods are pretty common in email usernames because we’re used to saying “dot” for the domain anyways but they’ll still slow down whoever is typing it and likely miss what comes after it. Any other punctuation is a great typo opportunity. +1 for any period in the username, +2 for any other punctuation in the username or domain.


Just like punctuation, numbers are in that more unfamiliar part of the keyboard where fingers get lost and push the wrong buttons. +1 for each number.

Any hard to say words that aren’t your name

Bit of a loose definition here but you should know it when you see it. If you have a username that’s not your name (where they might be able to refernce spelling) and is not a common and easily spellable word take a point. I’m talking about you whoever you are.

Similar sounding letters

This is one I know all too well from one of my emails where I have to break out the phonetics after the 3rd repetition and they’re still confused. “mn”? “mm”? “nm”? Add +1 for each pair of similar sounding letters that aren’t in an easily pronouncable and spellable word. Some common pairs include: BV, DG, GZ, MN, JK

Bonus: Unicode & Emoji

Good luck getting someone to type that over the phone. +5 for each unicode character.


The email I’ve been using the most over the past few years is guilty of a few of these and comes in at a score of 3 so I’m well aware of the struggle.

Let me know in the comments what score yours is and the struggles you’ve had!

You can also check out some of the discussion over on Hacker News

Liked this post?

Sign up and be the first to see new posts!

No spam, no nonsense, no guarantees, no rights reserved, probably.


comments powered by Disqus