What Does “Compose Email” Mean? (Step-By-Step Guide With Examples)

In your emails, have you ever wondered what that little button that says “compose email” means? Today, we’ll look at everything you need to know about “compose email”.

What Does “Compose Email” Mean?

“Compose email” means to write a new email. Unlike “reply”, when you click “compose” email, you are not continuing a thread, but starting a brand new email. You should use “compose” when you want to write an email to a receiver within a topic that you have not previously discussed.

What Does "Compose Email" Mean?

How To Compose An Email

Composing an email is super easy. Here is a step by step guide to help you to do it.

1. Click “Compose Email”. This should take you to a page where you can write out your new email.

2. Type in the email address of the person you’re sending it to. Make sure to spell their email 100% correctly. Just one wrong character and you might send it to the wrong person.

3. Type in a subject. When the other person receives the email, they will immediately know what it’s about.

4.Type out the email.

What Is Compose’s Etymology?

To follow, we should look at the etymology of the word “compose”. By looking at where a word comes from, we can better understand what it means.

The word “Compose” is from the Old French word “composer”, meaning “put together”.

Within the word “composer”, you have the prefix “com” meaning “with”. And the suffix “poser” meaning “to place”.

The Old French “poser” actually comes from the Latin “pausare”, which means “to lay down”.

When you “compose” a piece of music, you are taking notes and laying them down in an order that suits your style of music.

Why The Term Is “Compose” And Not “Write”

In some emails, they call it “compose new email”. But others call it “write”. There are a few theories I have as to why this is.

Firstly, it could be because the word “compose” just sounds more formal than “write”. These days, email is seen as professional. Therefore, you will want to sound as proper as you can.

Secondly, it may be because when we think “write”, we imagine pen and paper. Using “compose” rather than “write” makes it clear there are no pens involved.

And the final idea I have is that “compose” is just to make it clear that you’re starting a brand new email, and not just replying to one that you’ve been sent.

Is “Compose” The Right Word? There Is Some Doubt

When I looked at the definition of “compose”, I began to question whether or not this is the right word to use.

To compose something is when you take basic elements and rearrange them to create something. When you compose a piece of music, you are rearranging notes to create a song.

Writing is when you convey your ideas via text.

When you “compose” an email, what you are doing can better be described by our definition of “writing” than “composing”.

3 Tips For Composing An Email

If you’re new to email, here are some tips I have for when you compose an email.

  • Know who you’re writing to?

Is it a friend? A colleague An investor? Your boss?

The tone and words that you should use in an email depends on who you’re writing it to. With colleagues you can be more casual than you can with your boss.

  • Double check for spelling mistakes

It’s easy to forget. But make sure to reread your emails, and even sure Grammarly to ensure you get everything right.

  • Treat it like a letter

This means saying “Dear….” at the beginning. And signing off with “Yours….”.

4 Examples Of “Compose Email”

  • “I can remember when I first got my laptop, the first button I pressed on the internet was ‘compose email’. Strange to think that was 20 years ago”.
  • “I will not compose an email for you. You’re my wife. I’ll just text you like a normal husband would”.
  • “I spent about 5 minutes looking for the ‘compose email’ button. Ever since we got these new email systems, everything has just been really confusing. I guess we’ll have to get used to it now”.
  • “I had to compose a new email because the email I was supposed to rely to got lost in the pile”.


And there we have it. That is what it means to compose an email.

To compose an email means to write an email, but without replying to another one that you’ve been sent. Although some may argue that “compose” is the wrong word to use, it is the word we do use.

Hopefully next time you use email, you won’t be as confused as you were before.