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I'm writing a small program to send e-mails on behalf of users. Users will write a message, and I will add some text before and after their message. What do I call the text before and after the user typed text?

My first idea was Header and Footer, but it doesn't feel right because I'm adding a lot more than a title and page number. Then I thought of Prologue and Epilogue, but that feels awkward.

Is there a better name?

Edit: it doesn't have to be one word. It can be a short title, e.g. first paragraph / last paragraph.

  • You could use 'Postscript (PS)' for the part after the message. Check out more on Postscript – Varun Nair Apr 11 '16 at 13:03
  • Hold on. Do you mean that the text a user writes in their email will include page numbers? – Damkerng T. Apr 11 '16 at 13:33
  • @Damkerng It's an email. There are no page numbers. – DonkeyMaster Apr 11 '16 at 13:54
  • @DonkeyMaster If I am to send an e-mail using a software, I would just need a message, and a recipient's email address. Can you clarify as to what you will be adding? Perhaps that can help. – Usernew Apr 11 '16 at 13:56
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    Actually I would refer to all of the added text as the template. The user created parts are harder for me to name - I'd have to think about it. The template + user written parts = the message. – ColleenV Apr 12 '16 at 18:16
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I'm not familiar with words that describe exactly what you need. But here are a few suggestions, that can be used (although, not always and not everywhere) for the text before and after a note/ message.

Text before the actual message

  • Introduction
  • Prologue
  • Preface
  • Forward


Text after the actual message

  • Postscript
  • Epilogue
  • Supplement
  • Conclusion

NOTE: Most of these don't qualify because they are usually used in books or letters. Also, do not use 'prescript' as the opposite to 'postscript' as it has an entirely different meaning, as in a "prescription from a doctor".

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Text content that is automatically added after the main body of an e-mail is usually called a signature, even if it contains more than just a name.

Text content appended to the beginning of a message is usually called a header, but e-mail headers are usually in a "Field-Name: Value" format and not displayed as part of a message body. (Choose View Source on some e-mail you've received to see examples.) This is usually used for context information like date, time, sender's identity information, etc. so it might fit what you're trying to do.
More generally, salutation, greeting, or introduction might work depending on the communicative function of the text.


I also sometimes use the terms :before and :after, including the colons, but only when speaking to a computer.

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You could use leader for the text before and trailer for the text after. It would be a somewhat specialized usage of those two words, but I think it could work for this specialized context.

You might also consider addendum for the text at the end.

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'Intro' and 'Outro'

In the context you describe, intro and outro would fit quite nicely and be easily understood as the components to which you refer.

'Intro' is short for 'introduction.' 'Introduction' is something that introduces something else.

From Merriam-Webster:

Intro: 1: INTRODUCTION

and

Introduction: 1 : something that introduces: such as a

(1) : a part of a book or treatise preliminary to the main portion

Whereas 'outro' is often used to describe the end of a work such as a piece of music, a performance, or a news report.

Outro: 1: a short, distinct closing section at the end of something (such as a piece of music, a performance, or a news report)

"My favorite part is the sax outro; it reminds me of something from the '70s I can't place." — Ryan Adams
"The film ends with a colossal but semi-serious bang, an extravagant visual flourish and a cheeky musical outro over the closing credits to leave you laughing in spite of yourself …" — Peter Bradshaw
"When a story comes in from a Bay News 9 reporter, Ruechel will simply record his intro, main segment and outro." — Jay Handelman

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