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Many times your email consists of replying to messages sent by others. Any message in any folder (even the Trash folder) can be replied to or forwarded. On Thunderbird's toolbar are three buttons: Reply (an envelope with a green arrow), Reply to All (two envelopes and a blue arrow), and Forward (an envelope with a violet arrow).
When you reply to an email, the To address(es) is retrieved from the original message. The subject is the original subject with RE: added to the front of it.
When replying, you can choose to have your reply quote the original message. Then you can configure your reply to start above the quoted message, start below the quoted message (the default), or have the quoted message text selected. These options are set in Account Settings, Composition & Addressing, in the Composition section.
Your reply header (by default, it's <author> wrote:, where <author> is the author of the quoted message) can also be changed by setting a preference as described on this web page: http://mozilla.gunnars.net/mozfaq_use.html#change_reply_header_text.
After you have composed your reply, either click the Send button in the Compose window or press Ctrl+Enter (Return on the Mac).
Be careful of the Reply All button. One of the most serious breaches of email etiquette is to reply to all when you really want the reply to go to only the sender. Reply All sends your reply to the original sender and everyone else the sender sent the message to.
I have seen disastrous results when Reply All has been used and the reply was not a polite answer. If you call someone a raging idiot in your reply, think about what will happen when others, or that person, see the message. I've seen people lose their jobs due to this type of error.
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