Does the following sound like natural English?

The mayor acknowledged and received the protest, along with a petition with 40 signatures.

A coworker of mine, who is a native speaker of English, wrote it. The only way to make sense of it would be to associate each of the two verbs with one of the two objects separately, so that acknowledged takes the protest as is object and received takes a petition as its object. But this does not seem to be how a two-verb sequence is interpreted.

  • It's fine, but it might not mean what you think it means. As written, both verbs apply to both objects, which is somewhat confusing since you can't really receive a protest. You can receive protesters, however.
    – Andrew
    Jun 2, 2018 at 5:07
  • What does it mean to acknowledge a protest?
    – Apollyon
    Jun 2, 2018 at 5:38
  • This seems like borderline proofreading. I know you’re trying to focus on the “two verbs and two objects” aspect, but you should at least tell us where you got this sentence and tell us what you think it means.
    – J.R.
    Jun 2, 2018 at 9:26
  • @Apollyon It would mean something like "to recognize that the protest is for legitimate reasons". For example, in the Unites States many (including the President) choose not to acknowledge the protest made by NFL players who kneel during the national anthem..
    – Andrew
    Jun 2, 2018 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


The object of received is not required to be a physical object that you take into your hands.

On a semantic level, the protest refers to protesters-doing-something, and so because it has this human element, a protest can be received as guests may be received, or as news or some bit of information may be received.

The mayor received the protest graciously because he was an ardent supporter of free speech and the right of the people to make their grievances known.

Since a protest is an attempt to make grievances known, it can also be acknowledged, that is, the mayor can express understanding of the purpose of the protest, that the issues the protesters wish to make known have been made known.

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