Question for the tecchies

Can you have an ‘ in an email address?

for example, noel.obrien@ I could see could work. But noel.o’brien@ I’ve not seen as a format before.

And it most certainly doesn’t want to work.

13 comments on “Question for the tecchies

  1. According to RFC2822 the local-part (left of the @) of the address is locally interpreted.

    That means you should be able to put what you want there. You may have to quote it between “”, and it will depend on whether your mail server can understand it.

    3.4.1. Addr-spec specification

    An addr-spec is a specific Internet identifier that contains a
    locally interpreted string followed by the at-sign character (“@”,
    ASCII value 64) followed by an Internet domain. The locally
    interpreted string is either a quoted-string or a dot-atom. If the
    string can be represented as a dot-atom (that is, it contains no
    characters other than atext characters or “.” surrounded by atext

    Resnick Standards Track [Page 16]

    RFC 2822 Internet Message Format April 2001

    characters), then the dot-atom form SHOULD be used and the
    quoted-string form SHOULD NOT be used. Comments and folding white
    space SHOULD NOT be used around the “@” in the addr-spec.

    addr-spec = local-part “@” domain

    local-part = dot-atom / quoted-string / obs-local-part

    domain = dot-atom / domain-literal / obs-domain

    domain-literal = [CFWS] “[” *([FWS] dcontent) [FWS] “]” [CFWS]

    dcontent = dtext / quoted-pair

    dtext = NO-WS-CTL / ; Non white space controls

    %d33-90 / ; The rest of the US-ASCII
    %d94-126 ; characters not including “[“,
    ; “]”, or “\”

    The domain portion identifies the point to which the mail is
    delivered. In the dot-atom form, this is interpreted as an Internet
    domain name (either a host name or a mail exchanger name) as
    described in [STD3, STD13, STD14]. In the domain-literal form, the
    domain is interpreted as the literal Internet address of the
    particular host. In both cases, how addressing is used and how
    messages are transported to a particular host is covered in the mail
    transport document [RFC2821]. These mechanisms are outside of the
    scope of this document.

    The local-part portion is a domain dependent string. In addresses,
    it is simply interpreted on the particular host as a name of a
    particular mailbox.

  2. Yes, but you’re likely to find that half the world can’t send you emails, and the other half can’t receive them from you. Just don’t do it.

  3. And half or more of web forms will reject the email address when Noel enters it because it doesn’t match the pattern for what the developer thinks is a “normal” email address.

  4. Yeah I used to be sean.o’connor@…

    The internet used to hate the Irish and websites would constantly crash if you had an apostrophe in your name as it messes up SQL commands. They seem better nowadays but I’ve dropped the apostrophe on all my credit cards, and all my email addresses.

  5. I used to be an email admin. Yes, in theory, you can, but some email systems don’t like it. Microsoft Office 365 in particular gets a bit upset with it. It can exchange emails with people who have it, but it isn’t keen on its own users having them. Had to strip them all out when we moved to that at work, and the Irish contingent were not at all happy (esp. as we’d made a big effort to allow them a few years earlier).

  6. @ Andrew M
    There’s those, and the other half where “something” will crash and burn if fed it – like the Bobby Tables someone has mentioned.

    As suggested, it might be “legal”, but there are so many systems out there that won’t handle it well (or at all) that you should just save yourself a lot of pain and just don’t do it.

  7. I email a few people in riotinto who have a ‘ in the name part of their e-mail address.
    I use yahoo e-mail and address book.
    This falls over when I try to manually type in their address.
    It just won’t accept the ‘ in the “To:” and neither will it as an entry into the address book.
    The way I get around it is to get them to send me a blank email so that I can reply off the back of that. That then also saves ok to the address book.

  8. Every extra bit of input validation is something some poor sod has to write, and test. God knows how you write something to parse, say, Burmese though.

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