Email is short for 'electronic mail'. An email can be sent to a single email address or to multiple addresses.

Sending an email

When composing a new email, the recipient’s email address can be entered into one of three text fields:

  • To – enter it here if this email is directly addressed to this person.
  • Carbon copy (Cc) – enter it here if the email needs to be seen by this person but is not addressed to them.
  • Blind carbon copy (Bcc) – enter it here to prevent other recipients knowing you’ve sent it to this person.

Email has plenty of advantages but it has its disadvantages too.


Advantages of email

  • It’s quick and easy to use. An email typically arrives seconds after it’s sent.
  • Unlike letters, a single email can be sent to multiple people at no extra cost.
  • Emails can have text, images, audio and video in them.
  • Files can be sent with an email, as attachments.
  • Emails can be forwarded. This is when you send an email you’ve received on to someone else.
  • All email providers work together. Regardless of provider, if you have a person’s email address you can send them an email.
  • It doesn’t cost to send an email. The costs are covered by your internet service provider (ISP) or by advertisements.

Disadvantages of email

  • Because it’s so quick, it’s easy to send an email you might later regret, or to send one to the wrong person entirely.
  • Emails can be misunderstood. A rushed email may be interpreted as rude by the recipient. Emotions can help but are best avoided in formal or professional emails.
  • Email overload - because it’s so easy to send an email it’s possible to receive lots of emails every day, sometimes far too many to deal with.
  • Spam and junk mail – emails you haven’t asked for and don’t want. A good spam filter will stop most of these from reaching your inbox but sometimes mail that isn’t junk may slip into your junk mail unnoticed. It is always worth checking your junk mail if an email you are expecting doesn’t arrive.
  • Attachments may contain viruses that can damage your computer.
  • There is no way of knowing if a recipient received an email unless a read receipt is used. A read receipt is sent to the sender when the recipient opens the email.
  • It’s rare to receive an instant response to an email as they may be treated as less urgent than a phone call.
Email sent to wrong person