Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
VGCC Library Services logo

OST 140: Internet Communication and Research: Using

Basic Email Terms

Links from an email program: Compose, Inbox, and Starred

Each email provider uses specific terms to describe email procedures. Here are a few of the more common terms:

New or Compose- Use this to create an email to be sent by you

Reply-Use this to send an answer back to an email

Forward- If you would like to send an email that you received to another

Inbox-This is where your new messages will be sent.  It will show you the sender, subject and date sent.

Sent-This area keeps a copy of emails that you sent.  It is a good idea to delete these every now and then, when they are no longer needed.

Deleted- After you have read and no longer need an email, you should either file it in a folder or delete it. Having thousands of old emails in your account may slow down the process of sending or receiving your mail.

Drafts- This is where you may store an email that you were working on but are not ready to send.

Spam-Your spam folder contains emails that your provider determined many be mass mailings and therefore not necessary for you to read.

Attachments-Documents, photos and videos can be sent through an email by "attaching" it to a message. Look for a paper clip icon and the word, "attach" to do this.

Contacts or Addresses- In order to send an email, you will need to use the correct email address. This address will be typed into the "to" box and will look something like: Many programs have a  feature that will automatically place addresses from any of the emails that you receive into your address book or contact list.

 Trash-Deleted messages are sent to the trash folder. They will be kept here until you "empty the trash". You will do this by selecting the emails to be permanently removed and "empty".

Anatomy of an Email

When writing an email, the way the screen looks will vary depending on the program you are using. However, most of them will contain similar elements. The picture below describes some of these elements that are common to all email programs and offers some tips for using email for business.


A new email window, with different elements identified. Select the link below for the text-only version.

To view a larger copy of this image, right click on it, then select "View Image". A text-only description (opens in Word) is also available.

Email Basics

Using email varies by the program or provider you use to receive it, but the basic ideas behind how it works and how to use it are pretty consistent.  Check out the following links to find out more.

Email Tips

Two important issues when using email, especially in a business environment, are knowing proper email etiquette and managing your account effectively.  The articles below can help you get a handle on both.

VGCC Library Services

Profile Photo
Library Services
Main: (252) 738-3279
South: (252) 738-3510
Franklin: (252) 738-3606
Warren: (252) 738-3686

Need help?  Contact the VGCC Library.