Interested in comprehensively understanding the nuances behind the expression “please confirm receipt?”
Well, you’ve certainly come to the right page to seek definitive answers, rather than just bits and pieces of information.
Please scroll down ‘til the end so you won’t ever have to worry about one of the most widely-used expressions in business correspondence.
What is meant by “please confirm receipt”?
“Please confirm receipt” is a common expression used in business correspondence for prompting the receiver of the message to respond and acknowledge whether a message, payment, or document has been successfully transferred. The expression simply means “let me know when and if you get it,” which can be used to make sure that a piece of information or an item has reached the intended individual. Using “please confirm receipt” is generally more expected in formal message exchanges rather than casual ones.
The meaning, function, and usage of “please confirm receipt”
“Please confirm receipt” is a formal expression typically used in business correspondence such as when emailing clients or colleagues.
It serves the particular purpose of prompting a confirmatory response from the message recipient which is vital in record-keeping and tracking.
When the message recipient confirms or acknowledges the receipt of whatever subject is being referred to, it means that the transaction has been successfully carried out.
The process of affirmation is pivotal in communication as it not only manifests professionalism but, more importantly, validates the transaction process.
Therefore, we can say that the use of “please confirm receipt” is vital in the process of profit-making.
Here’s a copy of the PPT used in the training yesterday.
Please confirm receipt of the file.
Interestingly though, “receipt” is a two-faced word that may be slightly confusing when inappropriately interpreted.
To address that issue, let’s try to understand the difference between the two senses of “receipt” in the next subsection.
The two senses of “receipt”
“Receipt” is a noun that could either mean a name of a thing or a name of an act or state.
On one hand, the item “receipt” refers to a document that serves as proof of transaction that can be obtained electronically or in print.
Whereas, the other sense refers to the act of receiving goods, messages, or payments from a supplier or sender.
The item “receipt” is limited to referencing the document only, while the act or state refers to the particular process behind it.
Another major difference between the two senses exists too, which lies behind their linguistic characteristic.
The former is a concrete, countable noun that can be pluralized by adding the suffix -s.
Whereas, the latter sense, which is the act or state of receiving, is an abstract noun, and therefore, non-countable.
Now, let’s also tackle the contexts in which “please confirm receipt” can be used, as this is also important for practical reasons.
Please confirm receipt: Formal vs. informal registers
As you may have observed so far, “please confirm receipt” is a notable expression in business correspondence, which belongs to the tenet of formal language use.
Since this is the case, it certainly is inappropriate to use this expression with friends, family members, or people with whom we share intimate relationships.
Imagine sending a gift to your mom or best friend with a note saying “please confirm receipt of this present” after the line “happy birthday.”
How do you think your mom or best friend will feel?
Yes, there’s a probability of interpreting your message as an attempt to inject humor, but, at the same time, it could also be perceived as impolite.
This is what we refer to as the register clash phenomenon, which is highly dependent on the context, style, and content of the message, as well as the sender.
In simple words, only those people who are immediately perceived as naturally funny or comedic can pull off the example given without any trouble.
So, to be safe, we can use “let me know when you get it” in casual situations instead in order to avoid unintentional misconceptions.
Now, let’s also look into some variations of the expression “please confirm receipt” together with examples.
Variations of “please confirm receipt”
In this section, you will be able to learn several variations of “please confirm receipt” that you can use to prompt an acknowledgment from the receiver.
The following expressions vary in length, purpose, and formality level.
Hence, by the end of this section, you will understand how to adjust the usage of expression depending on some influencing factors.
The shortest acknowledgment prompt can be done by using two words only, “please” and “confirm.”
This very short phrase is applicable when a series of conversations have already taken place, as opposed to initial contact only.
This is because the use of short expressions may easily imply that the sender only exerted minimal effort in constructing the message.
And thus, this should be avoided when the intention is to be perceived as polite and professional.
Dear Bob, Here’s the link to the video. Please confirm. Thanks.
The message above is expected to be observed among people who have been constantly exchanging messages, rather than in an initial attempt.
This is because the acknowledgment prompt is too brief to be completely understood by anyone unfamiliar with the transaction process.
Doing so in such cases may confuse the receiver whether you want a confirmation that the message has been received or if the given attachment works.
Please confirm upon receipt
Another variation is “please confirm upon receipt” which prompts the necessity of an immediate acknowledgment from the receiver.
“Upon” is a preposition that is more formal than “on” which can also be used to express that something has to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Dear Fiona, I would like to let you know that I have already sent the hard copy of your contract this morning.
Please confirm upon receipt of the document.
This particular expression is more applicable when sending important documents or parcels that are sensitive, including payments and fund transfers.
Please confirm receipt of this email
The third possible expression to use is “please confirm receipt of this email.”
Of course, you may conveniently change the part after the preposition “of” depending on what you are referring to.
“Please confirm receipt of this email” is limited to electronic transactions using emailing tools.
So, it would be wrong to use it when you are referring to the receipt of an actual item because the expression specifically indicates the need for confirmation of the successful transfer of the email only.
Dear Fiona, I am writing to inform you in advance that you are chosen as one of the participants of the upcoming international leadership training.
We will discuss this in detail within the week.
Please confirm receipt of this email. Thank you.
When the recipient acknowledges the receipt of the email without any follow-up questions, it means that the recipient is affirming the request.
Please confirm receipt by return email
Another variation of the previous expression is “please confirm by return email,” which is a more formal one.
When a message sender structures the message this way, it suggests that the person is aiming to formalize the request even more.
Hence, this likely appears in an email to a recipient who is considered to be more of an authority figure or at least someone with whom we have a distant relationship.
Dear Mr. Herbert,
Attached in this email is the information you requested yesterday regarding your most recent transaction with our company.
Please confirm receipt by return email.
As you can observe, the example above implies that the addressee is not someone the message sender considers as a peer, but rather an authority figure such as a client or a boss.
Therefore, it would be more effective to use this kind of verbiage, which is more complete, to avoid any misinformation or misconception.
It is advisable to communicate more formally with recipients who are psychologically distant as they are not usually familiar with processes, not to mention the sender’s idiolect.
Now, let’s also have a look at some other alternative expressions that we can use as substitutes to “please confirm receipt.”
Synonyms of “please confirm receipt”
Many readers do not get impressed when the same words and phrases are used over and over in the same text.
Well, why not?
We relatively have more time to think and prepare before we write any information compared to when we are speaking.
So, more often than not, we are expected to be able to utilize phrasal and lexical variations when writing, as opposed to speaking.
To avoid redundancy, here are some synonymous expressions to “please confirm receipt.”
Please acknowledge receipt
The first one can be done by simply changing “confirm” to “acknowledge” which means “to recognize.”
So, when you see “please acknowledge receipt” as part of the message in the email, the sender is anticipating a confirmatory action to take place.
I have attached the files you requested below.
Please acknowledge receipt.
When this message pops up in an email, one can simply respond by saying “thank you” or “email successfully received.”
However, when printed documents are involved, either a signature or a stamp is often asked as a mark of acknowledgment.
Kindly acknowledge receipt of this message
The second can be done by changing “please” into “kindly” and adding extra details at the end that indicates the specific entity to be acknowledged.
Dear John, I would just like to remind you of the new training schedule.
The details are attached below.
Kindly acknowledge receipt of this message.
Writing the expression completely decreases the chances of misinterpretation and, hence, encouraged.
Kindly confirm receipt of this email by replying
Finally, we can also use “kindly confirm receipt of this email by replying,” which should just be used sparingly.
Apparently, the structure of the statement above is perfectly grammatical and even very formal.
But, the inclusion of the phrase “by replying” at the end may come across as superfluous or verbose to some.
The best situation that the expression can be applied is when there is another acknowledgment process known to the receiver.
This email is to remind you of your dental appointment.
Our website is currently undergoing some maintenance, that’s why I’m sending you a personal email instead of the usual confirmation link.
Kindly confirm receipt of this email by replying.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Please Confirm Receipt”
How do we respond to “please confirm receipt?”
A confirmation email response can be done by simply writing “thank you” or “acknowledged” which is better off when communicating with close individuals. A more formal way is to include “I have received the email/payment/file successfully” before “thank you.”
How do we ask for email receipt confirmation?
We can ask for an email receipt confirmation by adding “please confirm receipt of this email” or “kindly acknowledge receipt of this email” toward the end of the message.
How can we acknowledge an email from a boss?
As a boss is generally treated as an authority figure, the recommended response should be completely constructed rather than truncated, such as “I have successfully received the email” or “This is to confirm receipt of the email.” A more casual tone can be achieved by saying “I got it” or “I got your email.”
The expression “please confirm receipt” has several variants and synonyms that can be adjusted depending on the background context, content, and purpose of the message.
If you have successfully reached this part of the post, then, I would like to means you will never ever have to worry about this expression again.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.