English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I issued a payment to a company, and I wanted them to notify me when receiving the payment, could I say 'please acknowledge the payment when receiving it?' Is the word 'acknowledge' alright to be used here?

share|improve this question

The business language to be used is:

Please acknowledge receipt of payment.

It is short and sweet, and to the point.

You do not have to say "when you receive payment" or any sort of auxiliary instruction. The phrase is understood by anyone who has run a business professionally, and that a "receipt" is to be issued to the payer.

It is like writing "RSVP", where you do not need to tell the person invited "please ...blah ... when you receive this invitation." Writing "RSVP" simply says, "Please respond" (in French).

Saying "... when you receive ..." is redundant.

However, I notice that when "professional businesses" write to mom & pop stores, they frequently write (in a style similar to),

Please issue receipt to {business name and address} upon receiving this payment.

Alternatively, they go a step further

Enclosed with this payment is a form to indicate receipt of our payment. Please acknowledge the payment by signing the form and mailing it back to us in the stamped and self-addressed envelope provided.

BTW, "self-addressed envelope"? Can an envelope address itself? Seems illogical to me.

share|improve this answer

Yes, but I would say "when you have received", not "when receiving"

share|improve this answer
I'd say "upon receipt". I regard "when you have received" as verbose and ambiguous (it refers to all time after receipt). – jwpat7 Apr 24 '12 at 2:47
agreed, but I was mainly correcting the verb tense on "receive" – JeffSahol Apr 24 '12 at 16:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.