You open your email and find the sender telling you, “please confirm receipt.” What do they mean? This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning and origin of this expression.
If someone sends you an email or letter with “please confirm receipt” in the title or at the end of the writings, they are asking you to let them know that you received and read the information. It’s another way of asking someone to “RSVP” on an invitation or information.
Typically, this saying only uses business language, and most people don’t use it anymore due to the invention of read receipts on email clients like Microsoft Outlook. In most cases, you’ll find this phrase in business communications from senior management and clients.
If you find the request in an email, it’s probably a good idea to read the information in the email quickly to get a brief understanding of the content. If you don’t have the time to read it, you could reply with, “Receipt confirmed; I will look at this later. I’m just busy right now.”
“I sent you an email about an hour ago about the big client meeting coming up tomorrow. Please confirm receipt, so I know you’re on board with the strategy.”
“Attached, please find your invite to the wedding. Please confirm receipt of this email so we can add you to the list.”
“Please confirm receipt of this email.”
“Please confirm receipt, or we won’t know if you got the email. The servers are acting funny lately.”
No one knows when people first started using the phrase “please confirm receipt” in communications. Some experts believe that it first appeared with the advent of email in the mid to late nineties. At the time, there was no “read receipt” feature in early versions of email clients.
As a result, people use the term to express the importance of the message to the recipient. They ask them to reply to the email to put their minds at ease that the recipient received the information. Some experts suggest that the term started to fade in the mid-2000s as read receipts were added to email clients like Microsoft Outlook.
Some experts suggest that the term was already in use before the advent of email, but no evidence supports these claims.
Phrases Similar to Please Confirm Receipt
- Let me know if you receive this.
Phrases Opposite to Please Confirm Receipt
- I don’t care if you received it.
- No reply is necessary.
What is the Correct Saying?
- Please confirm receipt.
Ways People May Say Please Confirm Receipt Incorrectly
Some people may use the phrase for other receipts. This saying only applies to email communications, not the receipts you receive at the grocery store or other retail establishments. Some people may also come off as abrasive when using the saying if they don’t use “please” in the request, and the other person might not reply to them out of spite.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Please Confirm Receipt
You can use the phrase “please confirm receipt” in professional email communications when you want to know that the person opened and read your email and understand what they have to do. Typically, the phrase includes the meaning of the person replying to you personally, not using an automated open receipt for the email. It’s a way of telling someone that you emailed them something important, and you want to know that they received the message and understand what they have to do before replying to you.