When sending an email, people tell others about it in many ways (especially when people need to monitor its delivery, for whatever reason). When sending an email, do you say “Through Email”, “By Email”, “Per Email”, or “Via Email”?
Let’s look at every form, and find out which are correct.
Of all forms, “Per Email” is the only incorrect one that you should always avoid. “Through Email”, “By Email” and “Via Email” are all correct. Use “Through Email” relating to the email as the means of communication. Use “By Email” and “Via Email” as a synonym of “by way of”.
There are slight differences between those forms, and we want to know them. But before looking at each form separately, let’s take a look at some examples:
- Wendy sent me the wedding invitation through email.
- Wendy sent me the wedding invitation by email.
- Wendy sent me the wedding invitation per email. (incorrect)
- Wendy sent me the wedding invitation via email.
As you can see by the examples, “Through Email”, “By Email” and “Via Email” are correct and could be used to convey the same basic message.
“Through” means to take something from one side to the other side, or from one end to another end. That’s the idea behind sending something “Through Email”: that the message would go from here to there, and be delivered.
Despite being correct in general, this form works particularly well when the email contains attachments that, in a sense, are moving from one point to another.
Take a look at some examples of “Through Email” in a sentence:
- Could you send me those pictures through email?
- Derek sent Linda the essays through email.
- All company communications should take place through email.
- Contacting him through email would be best.
- You may want to contact them through call rather than through email.
Those examples show well how to use “Through Email”. But how about the other forms? Let’s continue to look at that.
Likely the most commonly used form, “By Email” has a similar meaning to “Through Email”. The preposition “by” means indicates the means by which a message is being sent. Therefore, indicating that the email is the medium chosen for the task and the message will go “By Email”.
These are some examples of “By Email” used in sentences:
- Communicating by email can be more efficient than by phone call.
- You can contact me by email at any time.
- Please contact me by email whenever you get the chance.
- Linda contacted the company by email, and let them know about her resignation.
- Jane sent the invitation by email, which seemed a bit unusual.
When using “By Email”, the idea is that an email is the vehicle of choice to deliver the message. It could be sent “by mail”, “by courier”, or whatever, but the sender instead chose to have it sent “by means of Email”, which we abbreviate to “By Email”.
The form “Per Email” is incorrect, and should be avoided. “Per” means “as specified by” or “according to”, so it just doesn’t fit in this context of an email being sent. Just try to replace “Per” for any of its meanings, and you’ll quickly realize it simply doesn’t make sense.
Let’s look at some (wrong) examples of the use of “Per Email”, as well as some grammatically correct substitutions:
- Please, contact our office per email. (incorrect)
- Please, contact our office via email.
- Rhett prefers to be contacted per email. (incorrect)
- Rhett prefers to be contacted by email.
- The invitation came per email, but I haven’t responded to it yet. (incorrect)
- The invitation came through email, but I haven’t responded to it yet.
Although relatively common, because some people use this form, “Per Email” shouldn’t be used. Instead of using it, opt for “Via Email”, “By Email” or “Through Email”.
“Via Email” has the same meaning as “By Email” and “Through Email”. The idea behind it resembles the idea behind “By Email”. When you say “Via Email” the message is “by way of”, indicating that through the use of an email message, a message was being sent.
Let’s see how to use “Via Email” in a sentence:
- Luna sent the data via email.
- Jack always communicated via email.
- I sent Paula the files via email.
- Communicating via email is the norm in the company.
- I am having trouble sending Sarah the files via email.
As you can see by the examples, all three forms work the same and can often be interchanged. “Through Email”, “By Email” and “Via Email” might have some slight differences, but it’s certainly not enough to make them too different from each other.
The question that remains is which one you feel more comfortable using, and how do you incorporate them to your everyday conversations and communications with others.
You may also like: What Does “Via Email” Mean? Full Answer With 10+ Examples!
Four different forms, to convey the same message. Three of them are grammatically correct, while one is incorrect. Which of those forms do people choose when constructing their sentences?
The graph below, from Google Ngram Viewer, will have that answer for us.
“By Email” and “Via Email” are the most common forms, and show much more usage than the other two. Still, “By Email” comes first, appearing with more frequency than all of the other ones.
“Through Email” is the least used among the correct ones, appearing in third place. But we weren’t surprised by this: “Through Email” is the most difficult form to use, and clearly not the preference of many.
“Per Email” appears last, as it should, since it’s ultimately an incorrect form, which people should try to avoid as much as possible.
Use “By Email” and “Via Email” when you mean that the vehicle to send a message is the email. Use “Through Email” when indicating the idea of sending one thing from point A to point B. “Per Email” is incorrect and you should never use it.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.