I know that I can use the word receipt in a context as follows:

"I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter"

I wonder whether reception which means the action or process of receiving something sent can be used interchangeably.

The same case would be about the word receiving, a gerund, which would play the role of a noun if used this way.

Do these words mean the same thing and are perfectly interchangeable or there are some subtle nuance differences?

2 Answers 2


For the sentence you provided, "I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter," you could use "receiving" in place of "receipt of." "Reception," used to mean the act of receiving, has a connotation that's linked with receiving a signal on an electronic device like a phone or a TV which, if used in your context, would sound strange.


In passing: "if you could" please, not "if you would". "Would" is the conditional. (You would say: "I would if I could", not "I could if I would".)

Also "interchangeably" (adverb), not "interghangeble" (mis-spelt adjective).

On the "receipt" versus "reception" issue, I am disappointed by Internet discussions. However, Collins Cobuild comes down firmly on the side of "receipt" for simple receiving of objects or information, reserving "reception" for the receiving of people and electromagnetic waves

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    +0.5 Would is used properly here: it may appear in a condition clause when it has the volitive sense be willing ("If you would be so kind as to hand me the OED I will look that up.") Aug 27, 2014 at 14:20

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